The role and impact of affect in the process of resistance to persuasion


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This investigation dealt with the role and impact of affect in the process of resistance. A total of 597 participants took part in the study in 4 phases spanning 6 weeks. Initial results indicated that the cognitive, affective-anger, and affective-happiness inoculation treatments all conferred resistance to persuasive attacks. Structural equation analyses were conducted on the cognitive, affective-anger, and affective-happiness experimental inoculation conditions in order to examine the process of resistance. The results across all 3 conditions revealed a direct path in which inoculation treatments directly induced resistance to persuasive attacks. However, indirect paths to resistance varied across the 3 experimental conditions. Cognitive inoculation treatments contributed to receiver threat and counterarguing output, which, in turn, enhanced resistance. Thus, the cognitive inoculation treatments triggered a process that is consistent with McGuire's theoretical explanation for resistance. By contrast, both affective-anger and affective-happiness inoculation treatments relied more heavily on elicited emotional responses. Finally, the results indicated that greater receiver involvement was positively associated with experienced anger and, therefore, indirectly contributed to resistance, whereas greater receiver self-efficacy tended to dampen resistance.