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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

Personality and Attitude Change

Our study examined factors affecting persuasion in response to minority viewpoints and degree of prejudice toward dissenters who hold them. Participants were randomly assigned to read about: AIDS, diet, or 9/11. Within topics, participants randomly received the mainstream account followed by a non-mainstream account that was either logical or emotional, or were given no account. Numerous individual differences were examined that may influence persuasion/prejudice. The sample consisted of 109 males and 276 females enrolled in psychology courses at Brockport. Preliminary analyses showed that all non-mainstream accounts resulted in more persuasion and less prejudice relative to the two controls; there was no main effect of topic. Multiple-regression analysis showed that across topics, persuasion was best predicted by last-born birth-order, low authoritarianism, high neuroticism, and low acceptance of death. The same analyses for prejudice showed that prejudice was best predicted by high right-wing authoritarianism and by sexual-selection factors (seeking short-term mates).

Presenter: Kathleen Davenport (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Psychology
Location: 218 Hartwell
Time: 9 am (Session I)