The Effects of a Campus Building Occupation on Attitudes and Images of the Conflict1


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    The author is indebted to John V. Ruszcyk for his assistance in gathering the data for this study. This work made use of computer facilities supported in part by National Science Foundation Grants NSFGJ-34 and NSF-GU-3157.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Allan I. Teger, Department of Psychology, The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104.


Surveys were conducted before and after radical students occupied a campus building at Princeton University. The occupation led to reduced support for the radicals' demands and increased support for their militant action. The increased support for the militant action occurred even though no police were used. The results were interpreted in terms of a functional theory of attitudes. It was suggested that support for the demands or actions of the radicals was necessary in order to permit many students to appear radical. A second aspect of the study examined the mirror image hypothesis. Strong support for this hypothesis was obtained when it was found that the administration and the radicals appeared as direct opposites. This effect, however, was almost entirely confined to those students who strongly supported the radicals or the administration. Those who took a moderate view did not see the two parties as direct opposites.