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Annual Review of Psychology, vol 52 2001 by Susan T. Fiske, Daniel L. Schacter, Carolyn Zahn-Waxler

By Susan T. Fiske, Daniel L. Schacter, Carolyn Zahn-Waxler

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College students preselected to be high or low in self-monitoring tendency were exposed to a message that matched or mismatched the functional basis of their attitudes toward common products: an image appeal for high selfmonitors and a quality appeal for low self-monitors, or vice versa. To examine depth of information processing, the message contained either strong or weak arguments. The strength of the arguments had a greater impact on attitudes toward the products when they matched rather than mismatched the functional basis of the attitude and, in a second study, this difference was especially pronounced for individuals low in need for cognition.

42 43 46 47 Annu. Rev. Psychol. 52:27-58. org by Ball State University on 01/05/09. For personal use only. INTRODUCTION The attitude construct continues to be a major focus of theory and research in the social and behavioral sciences, as evidenced by the proliferation of articles, chapters, and books on attitude-related topics published between 1996 and 1999, the period covered in this review. To the relief of authors, the Annual Review of Psychology now divides this burgeoning field into two separate chapters, one surveying attitude change, persuasion, and social influence (Wood 2000), and this chapter, intended to deal with most of the remaining topics: conceptualization of attitudes, attitude formation and activation, attitude structure and function, and the attitude-behavior relation.

Accessibility of Beliefs According to the expectancy-value model, chronically accessible beliefs provide the foundation for our current, relatively stable attitudes, but various contextual factors can temporarily make certain beliefs more readily accessible. Depending on the valence of these beliefs, the prevailing attitude could shift in either a positive or negative direction (Ajzen & Sexton 1999). A systematic approach to the relation between accessibility of beliefs and its effects on attitudes is provided by attitude representation theory (Lord & Lepper 1999; see also Sia et al 1999), which makes a strong case for the dependence of evaluation on the subjective representation of the attitude object.

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