Title: Attitude change and self-attribution of responsibility as functions of attributions of others /
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Title: Attitude change and self-attribution of responsibility as functions of attributions of others /
Physical Description: viii, 81 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Stinnett, William Dewey
Publisher: William Dewey Stinnett
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1977
Copyright Date: 1977
 Subjects
Subject: Cognitive dissonance   ( lcsh )
Responsibility   ( lcsh )
Attitude change   ( lcsh )
Speech thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Speech -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Thesis: Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 74-79.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
Statement of Responsibility: by William D. Stinnett.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098661
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000210023
oclc - 04165830
notis - AAX6842

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ATTITUDE CHANGE AND SELF-ATTRIBUTION OF RESPONSIBILITY
AS FUNCTIONS OF ATTRIBUTIONS OF OTHERS














BY

WILLIAM D. STINNETT


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY




UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1977
















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


Among those who contributed to the completion of this

task are those who treated me well, less well, and not

well at all. Those in the latter two groups I thank for

making me tougher than I was. Those in the former group

deserve more thanks than I could ever express. I can name

but a few of the many who treated me well, although I love

them all.

Thanks to .

The members of my committee: Judee Burgoon for her

continuous support, her meticulous criticism,and her

devotion to excellence; Thomas Saine for his thoughtful

advice and counsel, especially in those difficult early

stages of preparation; Barry Schlenker for his insightful

questions which were always embarrassingly difficult for

me; Marvin Shaw for being a model of scholarship and

integrity.

The chairman of my committee: Michael Burgoon, who

has taught me much--love, hate, respect for my profession,

and respect for knowledge--most of all for being my teacher,

in a profession for which I have the highest regard.










My other friends: Pamela Monast, who tolerated much

but cared nonetheless, and who could always make me laugh

at my own foolishness; Chuck Montgomery, who has always been

my friend despite himself and others (I hope he finds what

he wants); Michael Miller, rowdy Arkansas boy, who spoke

seldom but wisely and who is both a realist and an idealist;

Marshall Cohen, who kept his head and helped me keep mine

through it all; Doug Vaughn, who was an amiable office

companion, a true friend, and who provided an abundance

of intellectual stimulation; Norm Markel, who always had

a "dumb" joke to tell when I needed it most; Marc Reiss,

whom I never understood but liked nonetheless; all of those

poor souls who spent hours helping me prepare experimental

materials and administer the experiment; the members of the

VRT, who are rogues, comrades, and scholars.

My friends and colleagues at Arizona State University:

Bill Arnold, my boss, who said to me, "Finish your disser-

tation this summer or you'll be out on the street"; the

others in Arizona who pestered me an entire year to finish;

my graduate students, who are first-rate friends, teachers,

and researchers, and who made me look good by demonstrating

their enthusiasm and competence in so many ways.

My special thanks go to my parents to whom this work

is dedicated. Their love and support was given without

question or obligation. They gave so much and asked so

little!


iii
















TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . .

LIST OF TABLES . . . . .

ABSTRACT . . . . . . .

CHAPTER I. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM


CHAPTER II.






CHAPTER III.






CHAPTER IV.

APPENDIX I.

APPENDIX II.

APPENDIX III


Introduction . . . . .
Review of Research . . . .
Rationale . . . . .

EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES . . .

Overview . . . . . . .
Subjects and Materials . . .
Procedure . . . . . .

RESULTS . . . . . . .

Manipulation Check . . . .
Attitude Change . ... ....
Self-Attribution of Responsibility

DISCUSSION . . . . . .

PRETEST QUESTIONNAIRE . . . .

EXPERIMENTAL MATERIALS . . .

POSTTEST QUESTIONNAIRE . . .


REFERENCES . . . . .

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........


Page

ii

v

. . . . vi


1
4
20

25

25
25
32

34

34
35
41

43

58

66

72















LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1. Means and analysis of variance of scores for
choice manipulation . . . . . ... 35

2. Means and analysis of variance of experimental
groups for semantic differential change scores 36

3. t tests of experimental comparisons for
semantic differential change scores . . .. 37

4. Means and analysis of variance of experimental
groups for Known Interval Scale change scores 38

5. t tests of experimental comparisons for Known
Interval Scale change scores . . . .. 38

6. Dunnett's t test for control mean with
experimental means for semantic differential
change scores . . . . . . . ... 39

7. Dunnett's t test for control mean with
experimental means for Known Interval Scale
change scores . . . . .. . . . . 40

8. t tests between control means for semantic
differential and Known Interval Scale ... . 41

9. Means and analysis of variance for self-
attribution of responsibility scores ... . 42

10. t tests of experimental comparisons for self-
attribution of responsibility scales .... 42










Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of
the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

SELF-ATTRIBUTION OF RESPONSIBILITY AND ATTITUDE CHANGE
AS FUNCTIONS OF THE ATTRIBUTIONS OF OTHERS


By

William D. Stinnett


August, 1977

Chairman: Michael Burgoon
Major Department: Speech

Personal responsibility for consequences has been

offered as an explanation for the attitude change of

subjects who perform counterattitudinal behavior. In

forced-compliance experiments subjects are induced to

engage in behavior which is contrary to their existing

attitudes. If the circumstances are such that the subject

cannot justify the behavior, he will change his attitude

to correspond with the behavior in question. According

to Cognitive Dissonance Theory, an uneasy or unpleasant

feeling is associated with the inconsistency of having

contradicted one's own belief. It is the desire to

reduce or eliminate cognitive dissonance which motivates

the person to seek some means of justifying the action.

If no adequate justification can be found, the only

avenue of dissonance reduction available to the subject

is attitude change. Research has demonstrated that










perceived choice, high effort, and public commitment

contribute to dissonance-produced attitude change

following counterattitudinal advocacy. Recent researchers

have posited that these variables contribute to

attitude change by increasing the subject's self-

attribution of responsibility.

In the present experiment it was reasoned that if

subjects who wrote counterattitudinal essays believed

they had influenced a person to change an attitude and

that that person held the subject responsible for that

attitude change, the subject's dissonance and feeling of

personal responsibility would be increased and hence

demonstrate greater attitude change. There were five

stages to the experimentation in this study. First,

subjects' initial attitudes were measured. Then the

subjects were induced to write messages which were

counter to their pretest attitudes. At a later experi-

mental session, subjects received bogus feedback about

the consequences of their messages. They were told by

the target of the message that their messages were

instrumental in changing the attitude of the target.

Simultaneously, they received information from the

recipient of the message about the degree of respon-

sibility attributed to the subject by the target.

Immediately following this information, the subjects










were asked to respond to attitude items and items

measuring felt responsibility.

The results of this study were analyzed through a

series of analyses of variance which demonstrated that

the attribution of responsibility when communicated to the

actor by the recipient of the persuasive message does have

an impact on the actor's feeling or responsibility for the

outcome of the action and the attitude of the actor

toward the issue. Attributional messages from a target

which hold that the actor behaved purposefully are given

greater credence by the actor than other attributions of

responsibility. In this study, subjects who received

messages which contained purposive commission and justi-

fied commission attributions reported a greater magnitude

of felt responsibility and greater attitude change than

all other subjects.


viii















CHAPTER I
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM


Introduction


Investigation of the factors which contribute to

attitude change following counterattitudinal advocacy has

prompted considerable research. The amount of justifica-

tion for an act, the aversiveness of the consequences of the

act, the degree of commitment, and the amount of choice

involved in performing the act have received much attention

in the literature (Festinger, 1957; Brehm and Cohen, 1962;

Aronson, 1968; Nel, Helmreich,and Aronson, 1969).

More recently, researchers have posited that the

responsibility felt by the actor of counterattitudinal

behavior is the primary predictor of attitude change in

forced-compliance situations (Brehm and Jones, 1970;

Cooper, 1971; Collins and Hoyt, 1972; Cooper and Goethals,

1974; Reiss and Schlenker, 1977). Forced-compliance experi-

ments involve inducing subjects to engage in behavior which

is contrary to their existing attitudes. If the circum-

stances are such that the subject cannot justify the

behavior, he will change his attitude to correspond with

the behavior in question. According to Festinger (1957),










there is an uneasy or unpleasant feeling associated with

the inconsistency of having contradicted one's own belief.

Festinger labels this feeling cognitive dissonance. It

is the reduction or elimination of dissonance which moti-

vates the person to seek some means of justifying the

action. However, if no adequate justification can be found,

the person will change the previously held attitude to

correspond with the behavior. Attribution theorists con-

tend that people are naturally motivated to observe and

explain behavior. In one sense they function as amateur

scientists and attempt to explain actions of individuals.

The inferences people make about the intention, motives,

responsibility, and abilities of individuals performing

actions are the substance of attribution experiments

(Heider, 1958; Kelley, 1971; Jones and Davis, 1965). In

addition to explaining behavior in general, the principles

of attribution theory apply to the explanation of one's

own behavior. Miller and Ross (1975) suggest that experi-

mental differences reported in the attributions of actors

and observers may be explained by the actor's access to

additional information about his own motivation and past

behavior rather than any fundamental differences in the

attribution processes. Bem (1967) contends that a person

is an observer of his own behavior and judges his own actions

in a manner similar to the way he evaluates others.










Also, these attributions about oneself may be in-

fluenced by the transmission of social cues. Festinger's

Social Comparison Theory (1954) suggests that evaluation

of one's own behavior is accomplished by comparing one's

own acts with the behavior of significant others. Informa-

tion obtained by observing the behavior of others may be

used in making self-attributions. Rosenthal (1963) demon-

strated that the evaluation of one's own behavior is

influenced by the expectancies of others, presumably com-

municated to the individual in very subtle ways. Schacter

and Singer (1962) concluded that people may explain their

own feelings by interpreting the actions of those around

them.

Given that the judgment of one's own behavior is

influenced by the attributions of others, it is reasoned

that persons who experience dissonance following counter-

attitudinal advocacy will find it difficult to reduce that

dissonance if they are held maximally responsible for

their actions by those affected by those actions.

There is a great deal of research that clarifies

specific relationships between cognitive dissonance and

attribution of responsibility.










Review of Research

Cognitive Dissonance

Festinger (1957) maintains that any two cognitions may

be consonant, dissonant, or irrelevant to one another. If

the cognitive elements are in a dissonant relationship, as

in the counterattitudinal advocacy situation (I am an

honest, decent person. I am advocating a position which is

not my own and may cause harm.), the individual is motiva-

ted to reduce or eliminate the dissonance. If the behavior

is irreversible and dissonance cannot be eliminated, it may

be reduced by employing various strategies of rationaliza-

tion (e.g. the subject may feel that he had no choice

about performing the counterattitudinal act). The indi-

vidual may feel that the act was justified as a result of

extreme threat or a worthwhile reward. However, if no

avenues of justification are open, the pressure will be

to change his attitude to correspond with the behavior.

Factors which are presumed to influence the existence

and magnitude of dissonance are choice, commitment, effort,

outcome valence and magnitude, competence and justification.

Common research strategies for studying the relationship of

these variables to dissonance arousal and subsequent

reduction often employ a forced-compliance paradigm. In

this model, subjects are provided minimal justification

(reward or threat) to engage in behavior which is contrary






5



to a presently held belief or attitude. If the behavior

is irreversible and undeniable and the consequences of

compliance severe, the subject will experience a psychologi-

cal discomfort called cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957).

Of the factors which have been demonstrated to increase

dissonance, aversive outcomes and choice are most relevant

to the present discussion.

Choice. Dissonance, a post-decisional phenomenon,

can be aroused only when the subject feels he had a choice

in regard to performing the counterattitudinal behavior.

Given that a person was given a choice, he will demonstrate

more attitude change when given only a small reward than

when given a large one. Presumably, the large reward

serves as a means of justifying the counterattitudinal

behavior, hence reducing the dissonance and eliminating the

need to change his attitude (Festinger, 1957). This

inverse relationship between attitude change and amount

of incentive was obtained only for subjects who were given

an opportunity not to comply with the experimenter's

request in an experiment by Brehm and Cohen (1962). Similar

dissonance results were reported for high-choice subjects

in subsequent research (Linder, Cooper, and Jones, 1967;

Conolley, Wilhelmy, and Gerard, 1968; Holmes and

Strickland, 1970; Sherman, 1970; Bodaken and Miller, 1971;

Goethals and Cooper, 1972; Calder, Ross, and Insko, 1973;










Pallak, Sogin, and Van Zante, 1974). Dissonance effects

were produced by unattractive sources only for high-

choice subjects in several studies (Smith, 1961; Powell,

1965; Zimbardo, Weisenberg, Firestone, and Levey, 1965).

Subjects who chose to listen to a counter-persuasive

message changed their attitudes in the direction of the

message more than those who were not given a choice in a

study by Jones et al. (1968). Eagly and Whitehead (1972)

demonstrated that messages which were threatening to the

subject's self-concept were more persuasive when sub-

jects had chosen to listen. The subject's perception

that he chose to engage in the counterattitudinal

behavior has received considerable empirical support as a

necessary condition for attitude change in forced-

compliance situations.

Aversive consequences. While choice has been shown

to be necessary for the production of dissonance, other

research and interpretations indicate that it is not

sufficient. Aronson (1968), Nel, Helmroich, and Aronson

(1969), and Cooper and Worchel (1970) support the notion

that a subject given high choice in counterattitudinal

situations will experience cognitive dissonance and re-

lated attitude change only if he believes the consequences

of his behavior will be negative. Thie reasoning is sup-

ported and expanded by Carlsmith and Freedman (1968),Cooper

(1971), and Goethals and Cooper (1975) who demonstrated that










foreseeability of negative consequences is also necessary

to produce attitude change in the counterattitudinal

advocacy paradigm. According to Cooper's analysis, sub-

jects can justify their behavior and hence reduce the dis-

sonance by maintaining that they could not have known that

their actions could have produced the negative consequences.

Brehm and Jones (1970) found that if subjects were sur-

prised (consequences unforeseen) by the consequences of

their behavior there was not corresponding attitude change.

Responsibility for consequences. The results of two

studies in which unforeseen negative consequences did pro-

duce attitude change (Brehm, 1959; Sherman, 1970) are

reinterpreted by Pallak, Sogin, and Van Zante (1974) in

a series of studies in which subjects demonstrated atti-

tude change following unforeseen negative consequences

only if they could not attribute the outcome to chance.

They say that "the task evaluation effect was replicated

when the negative consequences were explicitly linked to

the subject and his initial decision and was attenuated

when the negative consequences were explicitly linked to

chance and not to the subject" (p. 225). Choice, self-

attribution of responsibility, and valence of outcome were

investigated by Arkin, Gleason, and Johnston (1976).

They demonstrated that in the case of unexpected negative

outcomes, subjects attributed responsibility to them-

selves only if they felt they had a choice in their action.










Several researchers have posited that responsibility

rather than choice or negative outcome is the primary

predictor of attitude change in counterattitudinal advo-

cacy research. Brehm and Jones (1970, p. 431) state the

following:

It seems safe to conclude that Brehm and Cohen
(1962) were quite wrong in hypothesizing
that choice (volition) is a sufficient condi-
tion for subsequent consequences to affect the
magnitude of dissonance. The suggestion that
a person must feel responsible for consequences
appears to offer a better way of understanding
the relevant experimental data.

Since surprise was offered as a means for reducing

dissonance, this was suggested as an explanation for

subjects in the Brehm and Jones (1970) study not changing

their attitudes. It was concluded that subjects assessed

their own responsibility for consequences based on the

foreseeability of the outcome. This analysis is con-

sistent with that of Cooper (1971), who maintains that

"a person will experience cognitive dissonance only to the

extent that he feels responsible for his discrepant

behavior and the consequences of that behavior" (p. 554).

According to Cooper, this personal responsibility is due to

the combination of choice and foreseeability. Goethals

and Cooper, 1975) further demonstrated that even if the nega-

tive consequences are subsequently eliminated,the dissonance

is not then reduced unless the subjects were able to

foresee that the aversive outcome would be eliminated.










Pallak, Sogin, and Van Zante (1974) reasoned that

perceived causality, in addition to choice and foresee-

ability, is also a necessary condition for attitude change

following counterattitudinal advocacy. They maintain,

"Within the dissonance framework, variables other than

foreseeability may determine responsibility for conseqeunces

by determining responsibility for an initial decision"

(Pallak et al., 1974, p. 217). They claim support for

their rationale.

Presumably negative consequences would result
in task enhancement only when subjects made an
internal attribution of causality for consequences
and had high choice in the initial decision,
in short, when subjects felt responsible for both
the initial decision and for negative consequences
resulting from the decision. (p. 224)

While these authors interpret their data as indicating

felt responsibility for both the initial decision and

resulting negative consequences, they have established

only that subjects made internal attributions of causal-

ity for the decision and consequences rather than re-

sponsibility. "Minimally, defining responsibility in terms

of attributions of causality for consequences clarifies

the conditions under which post-decisional consequences

may result in positive attitude change" (Pallak et al.,

1974, p. 226). This is, however, an incomplete analysis

of the role of responsibility in dissonance. Heider

(1958, p. 112) claims in his discussion of personal










responsibility, "it is the intention of a person that

brings order into the wide variety of possible action

sequences by coordinating them to a final outcome." Hence,

the concept of responsibility is pertinent only to the

outcome of one's behavior not to the decision to perform

the behavior. Many factors may influence one's decision,

but, by definition, one can feel responsible only for the

consequences of that decision. The Pallak et al. (1974)

analysis is useful because it establishes the necessity

for demonstrating a causal link between chosen behavior and

negative consequences, but the meaning of responsibility is

not clearly determined.

Collins and Hoyt (1972) argue that high responsibility

for aversive consequences is the most powerful predictor

of the negative incentive results of forced compliance

experiments. According to Collins and lioyt (1972, p. 570),

it can be argued that in almost all studies reporting the

dissonance-predicted, negative relationships the subject

(1) assumed personal responsibility for his act and

(2) felt that his act has serious consequences.

Rather than manipulating choice, Collins and Hoyt

(1972) told subjects that they were responsible or not

responsible for the outcome of their counterattitudinal

essays by stating the following: "You are, of course,

responsible for the effects your essay may have (we want










to let you know that, although you are, of course, in no

way responsible for the effects your essay may have)"

(Collins and Hoyt, 1972, p. 573). In addition to the

verbal instructions, subjects also signed a receipt,

"I have chosen to write an open visitation essay for the

U.C.L.A. Policy Evaluation Committee (Historical Records

Committee) and hereby acknowledge receipt of 50 (2.50).

Responsibility for its contents is mine. (I am in no way

responsible for its contents)" (Collins and Hoyt, 1972).

Also manipulated orthogonally were high or low conse-

quences and high or low inducement (500 or $2.50). The

results clearly support the dissonance predictions for

high responsibility, high consequences, and low inducement.

While the Collins and Hoyt (1972) argument that the

personal responsibility for consequences construct offers

the best available integration of the forced compliance

literature, they still have not offered a complete explana-

tion of the determinants of responsibility in dissonance

experiments. They have shown that one can produce dis-

sonance predictions by substituting responsibility

inductions in lieu of choice manipulations. Presumably in

the Collins and Hoyt study had some subject not received

a choice, he would have had an opportunity to deny his

responsibility. Very likely, many subjects would also

have been reluctant to sign the receipt in the high










responsibility condition if they felt they were being

forced. Although they have demonstrated that among subjects

given a choice, those willing to accept responsibility

for their actions will demonstrate attitude change, the

mechanism whereby responsibility is determined remains

unclear.

Reiss and Schlenker (1977) demonstrated that the

inability to deny responsibility in forced-compliance-

type situations is an important determinant of attitude

change. Subjects given high initial choice for engaging

in counterattitudinal advocacy with negative consequences

demonstrated increasing amounts of attitude change as

responsibility became increasingly more difficult to deny.

In this study three observers (confederates) indicated to

the subject whether or not they felt the subject has a

choice about the decision to perform counterattitudinal

behavior. The degree of observer agreement on the subject's

decision freedom was presumed to determine the degree of

difficulty in denying responsibility.

While highlighting the importance of responsibility

in forced-compliance situations, the Reiss and Schlenker

(1977) study still leaves the question of the particular

determinants of responsibility unanswered.










Responsibility

While many of the studies cited have referred to the

concept of responsibility as a predictor of attitude change

in dissonance experiments, the determinants of personal

responsibility have not been fully explored. Dissonance-

related attitude change has been attributed to the sub-

ject's felt responsibility in instances when the experi-

mental manipulations were choice, foreseeability, perceived

causality,or some combination of these variables. A more

thorough analysis of the components of responsibility

would seem prudent before personal responsibility is

offered as the major explanation for attitude change follow-

ing dissonance.

Levels of responsibility. Piaget (1932) has de-

scribed responsibility developmentally. As a person

matures, he considers an increasing number of factors in

assessing personal credit or blame for the outcome of

events. Heider (1958) views this as a five-stage process.

He maintains that people assess the degree of personal

responsibility for the outcome of incidents according to

the levels of responsibility.

The most basic factor considered in attributing

responsibility is global association (Heider, 1958).

Level one is defined as a situation in which a person is

held responsible for the outcome of an event if he is










merely associated with the event. "At the most primitive

level the concept is a global one according to which the

person is held responsible for each effect that is in any

way connected with him or that seems in any way to belong

to him" (Heider, 1958, p. 113).

In this situation, causality, foreseeability, inten-

tion, or justification is not considered in the assessment

of responsibility. If one's neighbor, a Republican, were

held responsible for the actions of the Republican party,

it would be an example of global association.

If, in addition to association, one is held respon-

sible for consequences caused but not foreseen, intended,or

justified, this is the second level which Heider labels

extended commission. "Causation is understood in the

sense that p was a necessary condition for the happening,

even though he could not have foreseen the outcome

however cautiously he had proceeded" (Heider, 1958, p. 113).

Obviously, if the outcome had been foreseeable, the actor

is viewed as negligent in the instance of negative out-

comes. This parallels Heider's third level of respon-

sibility which he calls careless commission. The most

responsibility, of course, is assigned to those causing

events who have had the opportunity to foresee the outcome

and acted intentionally. Thus, according to Heider,

the fourth level (purposive commission) carries the










maximum amount of responsibility. The fifth level

(justified commission) includes environmental restraints

or pressures which share in the responsibility for the

outcome. "We mean by this that anybody would have felt

and acted as he did under the circumstances" (Heider,

1958, p. 114).

A study by Shaw and Sulzer (1964) offers empirical

support for the viability of Heider's framework for deter-

mining responsibility. The researchers tested both adults

and children by having them assess the responsibility of

actors in descriptions of hypothetical situations repre-

senting the levels of responsibility. The results were

interpreted as supporting the notion of discriminating

attributions or responsibility among adults and less

discrimination among children. Global association and

extended commission do not constitute sufficient circum-

stances for the attribution of responsibility in adult

populations. Responsibility is assigned to those who

should have foreseen the consequences,and the most re-

sponsibility is assigned to those who act intentionally.

The expected decrease in responsibility attribution for

justified commission did not receive unqualified support

(Shaw and Sulzer, 1964). Both adult and juvenile popula-

tions demonstrated less attribution of responsibility at

level five for negative outcomes but not for positive.










Sources of felt responsibility. The impact of the

communication of perceptions and judgments of others on

one's behavior has received attention in several lines of

research. Bem (1967) in his elaboration of self-perception

theory contends that a person is an observer of his own

behavior; therefore before one can feel responsible for

an act, one must at least be able to observe oneself as

the cause of that act.

Festinger's social comparison theory (1954) suggests

that evaluation of one's own behavior is accomplished by

comparing one's own acts with the behavior of significant

others. Rosenthal (1963) indicates that school children

evaluate themselves and behave according to teacher

expectancies presumably communicated to them by subtle

social cues. It is also maintained that subjects in

experiments respond to the situational demand character-

istics inadvertently (or deliberately) communicated to them

by experimenters (Rosenthal, 1964).

Several intriguing studies (Schacter and Singer, 1962;

Nisbet and Schacter, 1966; Valins, 1966; Valins and Ray,

1967; Storms and Nisbett, 1970) support the notion that

people use information from their social environment to

identify the exact nature of internal states of arousal

(such as anger, euphoria, sexual arousal, etc.). If

cognitive dissonance may be viewed as a state of arousal,










it is reasonable that individuals will look for cues from

their environment to explain the feeling.

The process of attribution has received considerable

attention by researchers (Heider, 1958; Kelley, 1971;

Jones and Davis, 1965). Pittman (1975) supports the notion

that dissonance may be realistically viewed as a state of

arousal by demonstrating that if subjects who perform

counterattitudinal advocacy are able to attribute their

uneasiness to a source (viz., fear of shock) other than

their inconsistent behavior, the dissonance will be medi-

ated. Receiving less attention, however, is the impact

of attributions on the behavior of those making the attribu-

tions and the behavior of those to whom the attributions

are communicated. Munson and Kiesler (1974, p. 453) main-

tain that "a substantial area which has been relatively

unexplored is the case where the attribution is made by

one individual to another" (p. 453). This is the situation

in which the inference of one individual is communicated to

the actor. Munson and Kiesler (1974) argue that the

communication of attributions would be more potent than

either alone. Although they did not obtain the attribution-

persuasion interaction which they predicted, a main effect

for type of strategy supported the claim that the attri-

bution strategy had a persuasive impact of its own.










Miller, Brickman, and Bolen (1975) found that an

attribution strategy was superior to persuasion in elicit-

ing desired behaviors of second graders on two separate

tasks. They explain the outcomes by suggesting "that

persuasion often suffers because it involves a negative

attribution (a person should be what he is not), while

attribution generally gains because it disguises persuasive

intent" (p. 430). While the author does not accept the

notion that the communication of an attribution, positive

or negative, to elicit desired behavior is a fundamentally

different process from persuasion, the implications of the

strategy are of interest. In the Miller et al. (1975)

study, the children who were told that they were neat and

tidy or motivated to do well in math performed better on

their respective tasks than those who were told that they

should be neater or more motivated. It could also be

reasoned that telling individuals that they should be

responsible for certain actions might be less effective

than telling them that they are responsible.

Rosenbaum and Zinmuerman (1959) posited an external

commitment effect. "If an external source attributes to

an individual a particular opinion prior to exposure to

an attempt to effect change, effects similar to those

produced by self-commnitment will occur and can be de-

scribed by the term 'external commitment'" (p. 247).










The effect was obtained only for congruent attributions

(attributions in agreement with the subject's initial

opinion). The authors suggest that the pretest served as

a prior commitment which might have precluded the effect

of attitude change due to external, incongruent attribu-

tions (attributions in disagreement with the subject's

initial opinion). The subjects had just unambiguously

made their attitudes public, hence their susceptibility

to incongruent suggestions should not be expected to be

great. In the case of attribution of responsibility, the

prior response (statement of attitude) is not relevant to

the subsequent attribution of responsibility.

It is likely that one source of a person's feeling of

responsibility, in conjunction with the actual circum-

stances of the event, is information received from other

people. Such questions were posed by Reiss and Schlenker

(1977, p. 3).

Naturally, audiences frequently provide an
actor with their perceptions of whether or not
the actor was personally responsible for the
behavior. Given a discrepancy between a
person's initial perceptions of responsibility
for an action that produces aversive conse-
quences and the perceptions of observers, what
happens? Does the individual follow his
initial perceptions, does he follow those of
the audience or does he compromise?

This study demonstrated that information from observers

does indeed influence subject's ratings which lends










support to the notion that attributions of responsibility

communicated to the subject have an impact on his own

feelings of responsibility. By extension, it would also

follow that if the source of this information was the

person most directly affected by the consequences of the

subject's action, that the impact might be greater than

for an observer (Cialdini, Braver, and Lewis, 1974;

Touhey, 1971).


Rationale

Many researchers agree that personal responsibility

plays an important role in forced-compliance-related

attitude change. Whether this responsibility operates on

attitude change by increasing dissonance or whether the

appearance of responsibility prompts face-saving strategies

is less well understood. Impression management theorists

suggest that reported altitude discrepancies in counter-

attitudinal situations cre due to the subject's desire to

avoid the embarrassment of appearing inconsistent or

insincere to those observing the behavior rather than an

internal feeling of inconsistency. Such explanations may

be ruled out in the present study, however, because the

recipient of the counterattitudinal message apparently

sees only the message and would have no reason to believe

that the subject was in any way insincere or inconsistent.

There are no other observers who could conceivably form










impressions about the behavior of the subject. In either

case it is probable that knowledge of the judgments of

others about one's behavior is an important consideration.

Reiss and Schlenker (1977, p. 3) interpret Goethals and

Cooper (1975) by reasoning, "Thus, the actual consequences

of the behavior are less crucial than is the appearance

that a person is responsible for a potentially aversive

action." One might also contend that the consequences of

an action may include both the attitude change of the

target and the judgments of the target. The recipient who

judges the subject as responsible for the attitude change

would be likely to view the subject as one who holds the

advocated position. Indeed, such an attribution may be

viewed as aversive to the subject. It is reasoned that,

in addition to contributing to one's feeling of responsi-

bility, such judgments about the subject's responsibility

could also increase the aversiveness of the consequences,

and therefore increase the magnitude of dissonance. Dis-

covery that targets yielded or did not yield influenced

persuaders' ratings of their targets (Cialdini, 1971).

It was demonstrated that subjects who were successful in

persuasive attempts evaluated the target more positively

than subjects who were unsuccessful. Also yielders were

rated as more intelligent than non-yielders by the per-

suader (Cialdini et al., 1974). Responsibility










attributions communicated to the subject by persuaded

targets should be especially aversive for the persuader

when the persuasive message is counterattitudinal.

Hence, the greater the degree of responsibility

attributed to the actor of a counterattitudinal act by the

recipient of the consequences of that act, the more dis-

sonance the actor will experience and the more difficult it

will be for the actor to avoid a feeling of personal

responsibility for the outcome. Hence, subjects who

perform counterattitudinal behavior under circumstances of

maximum attributed responsibility should demonstrate maximal

amounts of attitude change.

According to Shaw ind Sulzer (1964), adults will not

hold a person responsible for an action if he/she is (1)

only associated with the act (global association) or

(2) was the cause of the act but could not have foreseen

the consequences (extenried commission). They also contend

that adults will hold a person accountable if he is seen as

the cause of that act and should have been able to foresee

the consequences of such action (careless commission).

According to this analysis the maximum degree of respon-

sibility for an act will occur if the person also attri-

butes intention to the actor (purposive commission).

However, the actor's responsibility should be mitigated

by environmental pressures, such as reward or punishment,










which partly justify the action (justified commission)

(Shaw and Sulzer, 1964).


Hypotheses

Thus, subjects who perform counterattitudinal be-

havior and find that the recipient of the consequences of

their action attributes causality, foreseeability, and

intention to them for tie action should experience the

most dissonance, find it the most difficult to avoid

responsibility and therefore demonstrate the most attitude

change. Subjects whose targets attribute careless commis-

sion to them should experience less dissonance, less

responsibility,and less attitude change than those with

attributed purposive commission, but more than subjects

whose targets have made only global association or

extended commission attributions. In addition, subjects

who receive attributions of justified commission from

their targets should experience less dissonance, find it

easier to avoid responsibility, and demonstrate less sub-

sequent attitude change than subjects who receive pur-

posive commission attributions. The preceding arguments

lead to the following hypotheses:

HI: Following couiterattitudinal advocacy, subjects
whose targets communicate purposive commission
attributions to them will demonstrate greater
attitude change than subjects who receive global
association, extended commission, careless
commission,or justified commission attributions.










H2: Following counterattitudinal advocacy, subjects
whose targets communicate purposive commission
attributions Lo them will express greater felt
responsibility than subjects who receive global
association, extended commission, careless
commission, or justified commission attributions.

H3: Following counterattitudinal advocacy, sub-
jects whose targets communicate careless
commission attributions to them will demon-
strate more attitude change than those who
receive global association or extended commission
attributions from their targets but less than
those receiving purposive commission attribu-
tions.

H : Following counterattitudinal advocacy, subjects
whose targets communicate careless commission
attributions to them will express more felt
responsibility than those who receive global
association or extended commission attributions
but less than those receiving purposive commis-
sion attributions.
















CIIAPTER II
EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE


Overview

The methods for tesLing the hypotheses included five

steps. First, subjects' initial attitudes were measured.

Then the subjects were induced to write messages which were

counter to their pretest attitudes. At a later experimen-

tal session, subjects received bogus feedback about the

consequences of their messages. They were told by the

target of the message that their messages were instrumental

in changing the attitude of the target. Simultaneously,

they received information from the recipient of the message

about the degree of responsibility attributed to the

subject by the target. immediately following this informa-

tion, the subjects were isked to respond to attitude items

and items measuring felt responsibility.


Subjects and Materials


Subjects. The subjects for this experiment were

selected from the introductory course in the Department of

Speech at the University of Florida. There were 201

students from 17 different classes who completed the pretest










attitude questionnaire (see Appendix 1). One hundred and

forty-five experimental subjects were selected from this

population, based on their agreement with the key pretest

attitude item.

Pretest questionnaire. The pretest questionnaire was

composed of 16 statements about campus and national topics.

The pretest was labeled an attitude survey which was part of

a research project concurrently in progress in the Speech

Department at the University of Florida. Each statement

was followed by four, seven-interval semantic differential-

type scales and an 1l-point known interval scale. The

semantic differential scilles are four which demonstrated

high factor purity in the evaluative dimension according

to Osgood, Suci, and Tannenbaum (1957). The Known Interval

Scale (Burgoon, Burgoon, and Vaughn, 1977) consisted of

11 points with each point anchored and weighted by succes-

sive interval scaling.

Means and standard deviations were calculated for each

item by use of both the semantic differential scales and

the Known Interval Scale. A polarized mean was desirable

in order to insure that most subjects would be creating

counterattitudinal messages. A small standard deviation

was desirable to demonstrate a high rate of initial

polarization among subjects. The item which most closely

corresponded to both of these criteria was "Dorms should

have 24-hour visitation." Pretest results showed subjects










to be in high agreement with this statement with little

variation. This procedure allowed selection of a single

item for the experimental task which would allow the maxi-

mum number of pretest subjects to argue counterattitudinally.

Experimental task. Based on the results of the pre-

test analysis, 145 subjects who indicated agreement with

the statement "Dorms should have 24-hour visitation" were

asked to write short, persuasive essays supporting the

restriction of dormitory visitation. Each subject received

a letter (see Appendix 21 from a bogus organization,

"Office of Communication and Public Relations," which

asked them to participate in a program to determine the

attitudes of potential University of Florida students on

the issue of dormitory visitation. Subjects were told that

their letters along with letters from other college students

would be given to high school students who were planning

to attend the University of Florida in the fall. Subjects

were told that a sufficient number of letters supporting

open visitation had already been obtained; thus they were

being asked to write letters in opposition to 24-hour

visitation in order that each potential student would receive

letters on both sides of the issue. The subjects' memo

stated, "Since we have already received the student para-

graphs written in opposition to restricted visitation, we

are asking that you write a paragraph in favor of this











policy. . On the enclosed 'memo' please write the most

persuasive paragraph which you can think of in favor of

restricted visitation." In addition to the written instruc-

tions, experimenters read the memo aloud to each class

and requested that the subjects put their names on their

letters. Although encouraged to write the letters, subjects

who objected were assured that they did not have to comply.

This was necessary in order to ensure that subjects felt

they could choose not to write the essay. Thirteen sub-

jects refused to participate. Another 40 subjects wrote in

favor of open visitation. These subjects, of course, were

not included in the final analysis. All essays were read

by three expert raters to determine if they were actually

written in opposition to 24-hour visitation. Only those

essays in which all thre, raters agreed were included in

the analysis.

Experimental conditions. The five levels of respon-

sibility (Heider, 1958) constituted the experimental con-

ditions. Five bogus letters supposedly written by high

school students attending a college orientation program

were constructed to represent the levels of responsibility.

Subjects in Condition I (Global Association) received

a letter which stated, "Before I read the letters from the

college students, I thought that 24-hour visitation was a

good thing, but I've changed my mind. Now I don't think










it's such a good idea. I had the idea that it might be

good before I saw the letters, but now I'm against it."

Several considerations were important in the construction

of the letter for Condition I: (1) it was necessary to

state that there was an fffect--thc high school student

had indeed changed an attitude concerning 24-hour visitation;

(2) the change was caused by the letters from the college

students, not specifically by the subject's letter; (3) the

high school student attributed the responsibility for the

change to the subject. According to Heider (1958) the

attribution of responsibility by global association is the

situation in which the person is held responsible for any

effect that he is connected with in any way. Therefore the

idea that the high school student experienced attitude

change as a result of all the letters from the college

students but nonetheless holds the subject responsible,

reflects the notion of global association.

Condition II (Extendled Commission) has to communicate

to the subject that (1) attitude change was effected;

(2) the subject's letter was the direct cause of the change;

(3) the target realized that the subject could not have

foreseen such consequences; and (4) the target holds the

subject responsible for the attitude change. The bogus

letter for Condition II stated, "I used to think that 24-

hour visitation was good, but I've changed my mind. Even










though you couldn't know that your letter would make me

change my mind and you didn't really mean to, it made me

think that 24-hour visitation isn't such a good idea.

Before, I thought it mi',ht not be a bad idea, but not now.

And even though you couldn't have had any idea that your

letter would make me think different about it, it sure did."

The subjects in Condition II (Careless Commission)

recieved a letter similar to that in Condition II, with

the exception that the target stated that the subject should

have been able to forceae that the letter would cause

attitude change. This Letter stated, "Before I read your

letter, I thought that 24-hour visitation was a good thing.

Even though you didn't really mean to change my mind, when

you wrote the letter you probably knew that it might. Now

I think that 24-hour visitation isn't such a good idea.

Before, I had the idea that it might be a good idea, but

now I don't think so. Maybe you didn't mean to make me

think like you even if you knew that would happen, but

anyway now I'm against it too." Of special importance in

this condition was the avoidance of any implication of

intentionality on the part of the subject.

In Condition IV (Purposive Commission) the concept

of intentionality was introduced. In this condition,

subjects read the statement, "Before I read your letter,

I thought that 24-hour visitation was a good thing. I am











glad that you tried to get me to change my mind and that

you realized your letter would convince me. Now I think

that 24-hour visitation isn't such a good idea. Before,

I thought it might be good, but not now. I think you

wanted me to think like you and knew that would happen, but

that's OK. I'm glad you had to do that assignment because

now I'm against it too."

Each bogus letter also contained one of three sets of

opening and closing remarks (see Appendix 2) designed to

add realism to the statements and to reinforce the notion

of responsibility attribution. The various opening and

closing remarks were randomly assigned across all condi-

tions.

Each statement was examined by five expert raters who

were all in agreement that the statements accurately

represented the five levels of responsibility by Heider

(1958).

Through consultation with several high school teachers

the language used in the bogus letters was carefully

worded according to the type of grammar and phrasing

typically used by college-bound high school seniors. In

addition, all letters were handwritten in different

handwriting styles and various colors of ink in order to

increase the subject's perception of authenticity.











Posttest questionnaire. Immediately following the

bogus letters, subjects received the final questionnaire

(see Appendix 3) which included the statement about 24-hour

visitation followed by the same four semantic differential-

type scales and the Know.n Interval Scale. On a separate

page were Likert-type scales to measure the subject's felt

responsibility for changing the high school student's

attitude and the subject's perceived choice in writing the

counterattitudinal essay. Also included was an open-ended

question designed to detect subject's suspicion of the

experimental intent.


Procedure

Subjects who had indicated on the pretest administered

during the first week of the quarter that they opposed

24-hour visitation were eliminated. Five weeks later,

remaining subjects were asked to complete the experimental

task. Their essays were then examined to determine com-

pliance with the instructions. Those subjects who did not

write in opposition to their previous attitude on dormi-

tory visition were eliminated from further analysis.

Remaining subjects were then randomly assigned to each of

the five experimental conditions and one control condition.

One week later the subjects received the bogus letter

representing the appropriate experimental condition.






33



Control subjects received no letter but had previously

written a counterattitudinal essay. Students who were

absent on the day the counterattitudinal essays were

written served as a prelest-posttest only control group.

Immediately following the distribution of the bogus

letters, subjects in the five experimental conditions and

two control conditions received the posttest questionnaire.

All subjects were completely debriefed at this time and

the purpose of the study was explained.
















CHAPTER III
RESULTS


One-way analyses of variance were used to test for

differences among treatments for attitude change and self-

attribution of responsibility. Planned mean comparisons

were done with simple t tests. Comparisons of control

means with experimental means were assessed with the

Dunnet's t test. A one-way analysis of variance was also

used for the perceived choice manipulation check. A t

test was used to compare the two control conditions:

(1) subjects who wrote counterattitudinal messages but

received no responsibility attributions (Cl) and (2) sub-

jects who completed the pretest and posttest but received

no experimental manipulations (C2). The 'analyses of

variance and t tests used in these analyses use formulas

adjusted for unequal cel sizes.


Manipulation Check

In order to demonstrate subject's perception of

choice, a one-way analysis of variance was performed for

the five experimental co nditions and the primary control

condition (Cl). In thin analysis, the F value was not

significant at the .05 level (see Table 1). This indicates











that there were no significant differences in the subjects'

perception of the amount of choice in whether to write the

counterattitudinal essays. This outcome indicates a

successful choice manipulation given that differential

perceptions of choice could have mitigated against confirma-

tion of the predicted differences in attribution and

attitude change.



Table 1. Means and analysis of variance of scores for choice
manipulation


Global Extended Careless Purposive Justified
Control Association Commis.ion Commission Commission Commission
2.62 2.27 2.7: 2.60 3.36 2.54
N=13 N=15 N=-] N=15 N=25 N=11


Source of Variance df SS Ms F p


Between 5 7.07 1.41
Within 91 144.14 1.58
Total 96 151.21


.-9 ns


Note: Choice was measured on a five-point Likert-type scale ranging
from 1, strongly agree, to 5, strongly disagree.



Attitude Change


Experimental analysis of semantic differential. The

analysis of variance fo- the semantic differential scores

produced a significant I ratio (see Table 2). The t tests

demonstrated significant differences between means for

global association (GA) and purposive commission (PC),


--











Table 2. Means and analysis: of variance of experimental groups for
semantic different al change scores



Global Extended Careless Purposive Justif
Association Commission Commission Commission Commis5


1.31 3.60
N=15 N=18



Source of Variance df


Between 4
Within 78
Total 82


2.44 8.12 7.15
N=15 N=25 N=11




SS MS F p


622.57 155.64 4.71 <.05
2577.12 33.04
3199.69


Note: Attitude change was mi'asured with four seven-point semantic
differential scales. These scales were summed for both pretest and
posttest scores. The difference scores could range from 0 to 24.



extended commission (EC) and PC, careless commission (CC)

and PC, GA and justified commission (JC), EC and JC, and

CC and JC. All other comparisons were not significant

(see Table 3). These i"sults indicate that subjects who

received purposive commission attributions from their

targets demonstrated more attitude change than all other

experimental subjects except those receiving justified

commission attributions. Also, those subjects receiving

justified commission attributions demonstrated significantly

more attitude change thin all other experimental subjects

except for those receiving purposive commission attribu-

tions. The analysis of variance for semantic differential


ied
sion










scores accounted for 19 percent of the total

variance.



Table 3. t tests of experimental comparisons for semantic
differential change scores



Comparison t p


GA:EC 1.19 ns
GA:CC .55 ns
GA:PC 3.70 <.05
GA:JC 2.72 <.05
EC:CC .60 ns
EC:PC 2.62 <.05
EC:JC 1.73 <.05
CC:PC 3.09 <.05
CC:JC 2.20 <.05
PC:JC .49 ns



GA=Global Association; EC=Extended Commission; CC-Careless Commission;
PC=Purposive Commission; JC=Justified Commission






Experimental analysis of Known Interval Scale. The

analysis of variance for the Known interval Scale pro-

duced a significant F ratio (see Table 4). Subsequent

mean comparisons demonstrated significant differences

between GA and PC, EC and PC, CC and PC (see Table 5).

It should also be noted that with the exception of cell

three, the pattern of means is as predicted. The analysis

of variance for the Known Interval Scale accounted for

19 percent of the total variance.












Table 4. Means and analysis of variance of experimental groups for
Known Interval Scile change scores



Global Extended Careless PurLposive Justified
Association Commission Commission Commission Commission



1.12 1.26 .85 3.06 2.32
N=14 N=18 N-16 N=24 N=11



Source of Variance df SS MS F p



Between 4 87.56 21.89 3.90 <.05
Within 78 437.41 5.61
Total 82 524.97



Note: Attitude change was nmasured by subtracting pretest from posttest
scores on the 11-point Known Interval Scale. Weighted scale values
ranged from .66 to 11.31.


Table 5. t tests of experim-ntal comparisons
change scores


for Known Interval Scale


Comparison



GA:EC
GA:CC
GA:PC
GA:JC
EC:CC
EC:PC
EC:JC
CC:PC
CC:JC
PC:JC


Critical value for t (<.05,


df=78) = 1.66.











Control comparisons. A one-way analysis of variance

was performed which included the five experimental groups

and the primary control group (Cl) for the semantic differ-

ential scores. This was done in order to generate an

estimate of pooled variance to use in the Dunnett's t test

for comparisons with the control mean. Significant

differences were found for comparisons of the control

mean with PC and with JC. All other comparisons were not

significant (see Table 6). This result indicates that



Table 6. Dunnett's t test for control mean with experimental means
for semantic differential change scores


Group Mean SD Dunnett'st


Control 1.56 1.46
GA 1.13 4.78 .41
EC 3.60 5.71 1.58
CC 2.44 5.73 1.416
PC 8.12 5.66 10.47
JC 7.15 ',.48 3.55

Critical value for t (<.05, df=6,86) = 2.58.


p



ns
ns
ns
<.05
<.05


subjects receiving high responsibility attributions

(purposive commission and justified commission) from their

targets demonstrated significantly more attitude change than

subjects who received no attributions following their

counterattitudinal essays. There were no differences










among students receiving ) lower responsibility attributions

(global association, extended commission, and careless

commission) and those receiving no responsibility attribu-

tions. Control comparisons for the Known Interval Scale

produced a significant difference for control (Cl) vs.

purposive commission. All other comparisons were not

significant (see Table 7).



Table 7. Dunnett's t test For control mean with experimental means
for Known Interva] Scale change scores


Group Mean SD


Cont,, l7 n


Dunnett's t p


Cont ro .2 1.80 -- --
GA 1.12 3.11 .91 ns
EC 1.26 2.26 1.11 ns
CC .85 1.50 .51 ns
PC 3.06 2.79 3.29 <.05
JC 2.32 2.82 2.06 ns
Critical value for t (<.05, df=6,86) = 2.58,




A simple t test between the two control means (see

Table 8) indicated no significant difference in attitude

scores between those subjects who wrote counterattitudinal

essays and received no feedback and those subjects who

completed the pretest and the posttest but received no

experimental manipulation. The t test between control

means for the Known Interval Scale produced no significant

differences (see Table R).










Table 8. t tests between control means for semantic differential
and Known Interval Scale


Semantic


Differential N=1
Scales

Known Interval .27
Scales N=11


Mean (Cl) iS(Cl) Mean (C2) SD (C2) t p


1.56 1.46 .48 3.98 .39 ns


N=26


1.8 .18 1.45 .16 ns
N=26


Self-Attribution of Responsibility


Experimental analysis. The analysis of variance per-

formed on the Likert-type scales for self-attribution of

responsibility produced a significant F ratio for the five

experimental conditions (see Table 9). The t tests demon-

strated significant differences between means for global

association (GA) and purposive commission (PC), extended

commission (EC) and PC, careless commission (CC) and PC,

GA and justified commission (JC), EC and JC, and CC and JC.

All other comparisons were not significant (see Table 10).

These results indicate that subjects who received purposive

commission attributions from their targets reported

greater amounts of felt responsibility than all other

experimental subjects except those receiving justified

commission attributions. ALso those subjects receiving

justified commission messages reported greater amounts of







42




felt responsibility than all other experimental subjects

except for those receiving purposive commission attributions.



Table 9. Means and analysis' of variance for self-attribution of
responsibility scores


Global Extended
Association Commission


3.57
N=14


2.94
N=18


Careless Purposive Justified
Commission Commission Commission


3.36
N=16


Source of Variance


Between
Within
Total


4 16.35
78 81.14
82 96.49


4.09
1.30


3.01 <.05


Note: Self-attribution of responsibility was measured on a five-point
Likert-type scale ranging Erznm 1, strongly disagree, to 4, strongly
agree.




Table 10. t tests of experimental comparisons for self-attribution
of responsibility scales


Comparison


GA:EC
GA:CC
GA:PC
GA:JC
EC:CC
EC:PC
EC:JC
CC:PC
CC:JC
PC:JC


1.08
.66
2.44
1.98
.95
3.H89
3.11
1.77
1. /0
.45


ns
<.05
<.05
<.05
<.05
ns


Critical value for t ('.05, f=-78) = 1.66.
















CHAPTER IV
DISCUSSION


While the role of personal responsibility in attitude-

behavior discrepant situations has often been cited as a

cause for attitude change (Brehm and Jones, 1970; Cooper,

1971; Collins and Hoyt, 1972; Cooper and Goethals, 1974;

Reiss and Schlenker, 1977), the specific nature of the

relationship between responsibility and attitude change

has received limited scrutiny. The results of this study

demonstrate that the attribution of responsibility when

communicated to the actor by the recipient of the persua-

sive message does have an impact on the actor's feeling

of responsibility for the outcome of the action and the

attitude of the actor toward the issue. 'Attributional

messages from a target which hold that the actor behaved

purposefully are given greater credence by the actor than

other attributions of responsibility. In this study,

subjects who received messages which contained purposive

commission and justified commission attributions reported

a greater magnitude of felt responsibility and greater

attitude change than all other subjects.

Although the hypotheses were not unequivocally sup-

ported, the pattern of means was as predicted. Subjects










who received purposive commission attributions demon-

strated significantly greater felt responsibility and

attitude change than all other subjects except for those

receiving justified commission attributions. While the

means for felt responsibility and attitude change were

greater for purposive commission subjects than for

justified commission subjects, the effect size was not

great enough to produce statistical significance with this

small sample. It should be noted, however, that both

messages contained all the elements which Heider (1958)

maintains produce the maximum amount of responsibility

attribution. The difference between the two levels lies

in the addition of environmental justification included

in the justified commission attribution. The justification

manipulation in this study was a message stating that the

recipient felt that the subject had to write the essay

as a part of an assignment. It is plausible that the

amount of justification perceived in the message manipula-

tion in this study was simply insufficient to overcome the

perception of intentionality of the subjects. Although

level five was not significantly less than the fourth

level, it is not valid to conclude that justification

does not play an important role in subject's perception

of personal responsibility and subsequent attitude change

following counterattitudinal advocacy. Subjects may










indeed require more justification than was offered in this

experiment.

Foreseeability. As stated in hypothesis three,

subjects who received careless commission messages should

have demonstrated more Eelt responsibility than subjects

who received attribution messages not containing fore-

seeability manipulations (Heider, 1958; Shaw and Sulzer,

1964). Although the means for careless commission subjects

were larger than for subjects in the first two levels of

attribution, the effect size was not great enough to pro-

duce statistical signifLcance. The parallel prediction

for attitude change, hypothesis three, also was not sup-

ported although the means were in the predicted direction.

According to Cooper (1971) foreseeability is a

necessary requisite to the self-attribution of respon-

sibility and subsequent attitude change following counter-

attitudinal behavior. "The analysis in terms of respon-

sibility specifically precludes the arousal of dissonance

in cases in which the consequences following from a free

choice were unforeseeable. In such cases an individual

can divest himself of responsibility and therefore

experience no dissonance" (p.355). It is not clear from

this analysis, however, whether foreseeability of negative

consequences is sufficient to produce attitude change in

all circumstances. In the present study, the notion of










foreseeability was inherent in the experimental task.

Subjects knew that their persuasive messages would be

read by the students and certainly might have some impact.

However, subjects did not report greater felt responsi-

bility or attitude change unless they received attribu-

tional messages which contained intentionality inductions.

Foreseeability of negative consequences apparently was

not enough to produce the necessary magnitude of felt

responsibility to demand subsequent attitude change. In

addition, even the messages that communicated attributions

of foreseeability to the subjects were not sufficient to

produce attitude change. While Cooper (1971) was able

to demonstrate that subjects who could predict the con-

sequences of their actions did demonstrate attitude

change, it should be noted that the attitude measured was

the subject's disposition toward his partner in the

experiment. In the present study, the issue of dormitory

visitation was unrelated to the target of the message.

Although foreseeability was sufficient to produce attitude

change in the Cooper study, it was not in the present

experiment. The antecedent conditions may indeed be

different in the two experimental situations.

Also unresolved in these analyses is the question

of whether or not the communication of purposive attribu-

tions will produce attitude change in subjects who could

not have foreseen the consequences of their actions.










Intentionality. The necessity of perceived inten-

tionality was clearly demonstrated as a requisite for the

self-attribution of responsibility and attitude change

following counterattitudinal advocacy in this experiment.

Goethals and Cooper (1972) demonstrated that attitude

change will occur in forced-compliance situations if the

consequences of that action are aversive regardless of

the intention of the subject. In the present study, it is

doubtful that the subjects actually intended to produce

attitude change in the recipients of their persuasive

messages. More important was the apparent impression that

the targets of the messages believed the subjects to be

acting intentionally. It is plausible that subjects

induced to perform counterattitudinal behaviors which may

have negative consequences may actually hope that their

attempts will be unsuccessful. Those who do indeed intend

to produce a certain effect may see that result as less

aversive than those who do not so intend. The accusation

of intentionality by message recipients may increase the

perceived aversivensss on the part of subjects who did

not intend such results.

The notion that the impression of intentionality as

communicated to the subjects is more important than

their actual intentions does not preclude a dissonance

interpretation of the results. Consistent with










Festinger's (1957) claim that the greater the magnitude of

dissonance, the greater the subsequent attitude change,

increasing the subject's perception of personal respon-

sibility and thus increasing his perception of the

aversiveness of the consequences of the actions would cer-

tainly increase the magnitude of dissonance experienced

by the subject. Research on public commitment (Carlsmith,

Collins, and Helmreich, 1966; Linder, Cooper, and Jones,

1967; Miller and McGraw, 1969; Miller and Burgoon, 1973)

supports the idea that the individual's perception of his

public impression is crucial to the dissonance formulation.

Acts performed in private seldom produce dissonance-type

attitude change in counterattitudinal research. This is

not to say that no internal processes (i.e. cognitive

dissonance) are operating. Were this phenomenon strictly

public behavior, it is likely that the attitude change

demonstrated in this study might have been obtained with-

out the parallel reports of personal responsibility. In

addition to the attitude change observed in this experi-

ment, subjects who changed their attitudes indeed reported

more felt responsibility than other subjects, clearly an

internal state.

In addition to the knowledge that their behavior

effected attitude change in the targets of their messages,

subjects in this study also knew the impressions held










by those recipients of the degree of responsibility

attributed to the subject. Research is needed which will

directly compare attitude change and felt responsibility

of subjects who know only of the consequences of their

actions with those who also have knowledge of the respon-

sibility attributions made by the targets of those messages.

This would help clarify whether feelings of personal

responsibility for aversive consequences are due primarily

to the circumstances of the action itself or the subject's

perception of how that action is publicly viewed. There

is research which indicates that the self-attribution of

responsibility, as well as the self-attribution of other

internal states, is indeed heavily influenced by the

statements of others (Bem, 1967; Festinger, 1954;

Rosenthal, 1964; Schacter and Singer, 1962; Nisbett and

Schacter, 1966; Storms and Nisbett, 1970; Valins, 1966;

Nunson and Kiesler, 1971; Miller, Brickman, and Bolen,

1975; Rosenbaum and Zimmerman, 1959).

It is not simply a question of whether or not atti-

tude change in forced-compliance situations is a result

of the subject's impression management or some internal

state but rather if the feelings of personal responsi-

bility for the act and the consequences of that act are

determined solely by the actor or by information which

the actor obtains from others who are circumstantially










involved in the action, such as observers and those

directly affected by the action. Festinger's social com-

parison theory (1954) and researchers who focus on the

self-attribution of internal states (Schacter and Singer,

1962; Nisbett and Schacter, 1966; Storms and Nisbett,

1970; Valins, 1966; Valins and Ray, 1967) convincingly

argue that such self-attributions are strongly influenced

by environmental cues such as messages received by other

persons in the immediate environment.

A person who engages in a counterattitudinal act which

results in aversive consequences may or may not know

whether or not he or she is responsible for those con-

sequences until told so by those involved. It is plau-

sible that only following the reception of such messages

does the individual perceive himself as inconsistent and

experience sufficient discomfort that he feels compelled

to justify the act. If the attributional messages which

that individual received are convincing and the meaning

of those messages is inescapable for that individual

("You are responsible") then the pressure to readjust

through changing his attitude to conform to the action

is undoubtedly great.

Personal responsibility. Consistent with the Collins

and Hoyt (1972) interpretation, this analysis supports a

personal-responsibility-for-consequences explanation of









the forced-compliance literature. Unique in this experi-

ment is the strategy used to manipulate subject's feelings

personal responsibility. The results of this study

indicate that the communication of attributions of re-

sponsibility from those affected by the subject's behavior

will increase the subject's feeling of personal responsi-

bility. Reiss and Schlenker (1977) have also demonstrated

that the communication of attributions of responsibility

by observers will have similar effect.

Collins and Hoyt (L972) also suggest that to induce

persisting and generalizable attitude change in individuals

one should "(1) encourage (if not demand) the individual

to accept personal responsibility for his actions and

(2) lead him to feel that his behavior in the group has

important consequences" (p. 586). The present study,

consistent with Munson and Kiesler (1974) and Reiss and

Schlenker (1977),suggests that one should not try to

persuade an individual Io accept responsibility for the

consequences of an action but rather communicate to that

individual a message that unequivocally attributes

responsibility of consequences to that individual. It

is also plausible that such messages will be maximally

effective if the source actually observed the action

(Reiss and Schlenker, 1977) or was the recipient of the

consequences of that action.










Cognitive dissonance. The results of this study are

generally supportive of Reiss and Schlenker (1977). They

state that following counterattitudinal behavior, "People

will engage in rationalization tactics only when all

factors give the appearance of high responsibility for

behaviors that produce aversive consequences" (p. 12).

In the present study all subjects received high choice

and the appearance of aversive consequences but only those

receiving the highest responsibility attributions actually

reported attitude change. In agreement with Goethals and

Cooper (1975), Sogin and Pallak (1976), and Reiss and

Schlenker (1977), it appears that it is possible to

introduce postdecisional information which will increase

the subject's feeling of personal responsibility and

subsequent attitude change. "Thus, dissonance-type

effects cannot be viewed as 'irreversible'" (p. 13).

The postdecisional information in the Reiss and

Schlenker study was designed to negate dissonance effects

in certain circumstances, while the postdecisional informa-

tion in the present study was intended to increase dis-

sonance effects. It seems plausible, then, that dissonance

outcomes may be manipulated either positively or negatively

through the use of carefully constructed postdecisional

messages. This is an important notion from a communication

point of view. Cognitive dissonance, as well as other










explanations of counterattitudinal advocacy, have been

primarily concerned only with attitude change effected

by the counterattitudinal behavior and the circumstances

under which it was performed. It is of interest to per-

suasion researchers that attitude change may be predict-

ably manipulated by creating the appearance of account-

ability after the fact.

Reiss and Schlenker (p. 14) also note that such

results do not fully support an impression management

explanation: "But the ,resent results make it reasonable

to conclude that subjects are managing their impressions

for themselves as well as for any audience that is

present" (p. 14). It should be noted that in this study

attitude change was accompanied by reported feelings of

personal responsibility, a result which would be diffi-

cult to explain solely in terms of impression manage-

ment.

While not contradicting self-perception theory (Bem,

1967), cognitive dissonance theory offers a more complete

explanation of these results. By becoming an observer

of one's own behavior, one may see inconsistencies and

attempt to resolve them through several impression manage-

ment devices, one of which may be attitude change. In the

present study, subjects may have reported attitude change

in order to maintain an appearance of consistency, but










why then would they need to report their feelings of

personal responsibility? All subjects engaged in incon-

sistent behavior,and the consequences of that behavior was

made clear to them. However, only those held maximally

responsible and hence reported greater felt responsibility

demonstrated attitude change. If the perception of con-

sistency were the primary motivator, it would seem that

all subjects would have modified their attitudes to corre-

spond with the behavior. Commensurate with the dissonance

formulation, the notion that as the discomfort associated

with negative consequences resulting from one's incon-

sistent behavior increases, the pressure to avoid further

discomfort increases proportionately, the threshold of

tolerance for dissonance for the subjects in this experi-

ment seemed to be reached only for those who were held

maximally responsible for the outcome of their behavior.

Unresolved, however, is the question of whether the

greater magnitude of dissonance was due to an increase in

the feeling of responsibility for any negative outcome or

if the increase in the attribution of responsibility

increases the individual's perception of the aversiveness

of the outcome.

Limitations. The relatively small sample size,

especially in the justified commission condition (n=ll)

contributed to the lack of difference between purposive

and justified commission.










With the semantic differential scales only 12 percent

of the variance was accounted for by the justified

commission vs. purposivx commission comparison and only

11 percent with the Known Interval Scale.

While the semantic differential scores produced a

relatively high correlation (r=.75) with the Known Interval

Scale, a higher correlation would have increased the

probability that the two measures were both accurate

indicators of the same phenomenaa. The lack of a greater

correlation could account for the slight discrepancies in

the mean patterns produced by the two measures.

A weakness in the experimental messages allowed

reinforcement to be inadvertently confounded with the

attribution of responsibility predictions. In addition

to including intentionality in the PC and JC messages,

the messages portrayed positive effect on the part of

the targets. The recipients stated, "I am glad that

you tried to get me to change my ming . ," which

could easily be interpreted by the subjects as a positive

outcome.

Future research. a replication of this study with

the addition of a no-choice condition would help clarify

whether or not the attribution of responsibility would

create sufficient dissonance in subjects who did not

feel as though they had a choice not to write a










counterattitudinal message. Typically, such subjects will

not demonstrate dissonance-type attitude change following

counterattitudinal advocacy. However, if attributions of

purposive commission are introduced following counter-

attitudinal advocacy, attitude change should follow only

if impression management is a more powerful determinant

of attitude change than dissonance in attitude-behavior

discrepant situations.

The magnitude of justification should also be

examined more fully. By any standard, the justification

provided to subjects in this study was minimal. Although

being required to write a counterattitudinal essay may

be seen as sufficient justification by some, it surely

would not be by others. By providing increasing amounts

of justification for the action, it would be possible

to determine a threshold of justification in this

experimental situation.



































APPENDIX I

PRETEST QUESTIONNAIRE










UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA CENTER FOR COMMUNICATION RESEARCH


One of the purposes of the Center for Communication
Research is to assess public opinion on current issues.
In order to help us gauge student opinion on several
on- and off-campus topics, we ask that you please
respond to the following topics by indicating your
attitude on the scales that have been provided.
Directions for the marking of the scales are below.


PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING VERY CAREFULLY

On the following pages you will find a number of
statements followed by several scales. Please mark
each scale in the blank that BEST represents how you
feel. For example, here is an item like the ones you
will see:

The United States should withdraw from the United
Nations.

Good : : : : Bad

Your job is to place a check mark (S) above the line that
best indicates your feeling toward the statement. For
example, if you feel that U.S. withdrawal would be a
very good idea, you would check as follows:

Good X : : : : Bad

If you fell such a move (withdrawal) would be slightly
beneficial, you would check as follows:

Good : X : : : Bad

If you feel neutral or indifferent about the proposition,
or if you feel the scale is irrelevant to the proposition,
you would check as follows:

Good : : X : : Bad

Remember: Never put more than one check make on a
single scale and be sure that each check is
in the middle of the line, not on the
boundaries.











1. Dorms should have 24-hour visitation.

pleasant : ___: : : : unpleasant
foolish : : wise
good : : : bad
valuable___ __ : :_ : : : worthless




N> N >i 0 0 0 >0 E-H
S < 0 P 0 00 2 % -1
4 H > 04 EH > 0 >0 1i N)


H N H


2. The practice of professors requiring books they have
written as texts in their courses should be
considered a conflict of interest.

unpleasant : : : : : : pleasant
wise : :_ : : : : foolish
bad : : : : : : good
worthless :: : : : valuable





N N 0 0 0 0 0 >0 H N







3. The university of Florida should alter the grade point
system o award a 4.5 to those students who show






good : : : : : : bad
valuable : : : : : : worthless

wise : : : : : : foolish
l < < Oi WH E > z NO N-
v Z K 3 i- Z
QEOH M M U EH



















W H > z
H H- H

3. The university of Florida should alter the grade point
system to award a 4.5 to those students who show
excellence in their class work.

good bad
valuable_____ worthless
pleasant___ : ___ :_ : : : : unpleasant
wise foolish





N N i> 0 0 -i 0 0 >70 H N >
HN N 0 0 0 0 V 0 O 00 7 Z



H N H






60




4. All lower division courses at U.F. should be taught
by graduate teaching assistants.

unpleasant : : : : : : pleasant
wise : ___ foolish
good__ :bad
valuable : : : : : worthless




T U liais s b ca d a "clos0











worthless : : : : : : valuable
H m m W M 4 O WO a W a
Cm H > U a 0 > 0 -4 a


H a H


5. The U.F. libraries should be changed to a "closed
stack" system, i.e., students would request and
receive books through library personnel.

worthless : valuable
foolish wise

good : : : : : : bad





Ha M :a a a O H O a 7O M M
m H > P4 Ea O U > Ua
a a a a a


H a H


6. Traveling squades for football teams should be limited
to 48 players.

good_ : hbad
unpleasant .- .-.-. pleasant
wise : : : :- foolish
valuable ~: :-:-:____ worthless




ma a ana a aC a a an a m a
Hm H am W < < 0 0 W0 a 4Ia
mlm a H >a a a0 0 WO W m
O31 C4 W1 Fl E-i U > UCn
Ha a: a a

H 0 P






61




7. Students should be allowed to transfer at will with all
credits being accepted between State University
System schools.

worthless : : : : : valuable
wise : : : : : : foolish
unpleasant : : : : pleasant
bad : : : : : : good




Ws W m C4 0 I A 4t n 50 H
Hv l a m m o a o mo : wrh

M M W M 0 C W 0 WO M

H > H


8. During this period of budget crunch, out-of-state
students should not be admitted to the University of
Florida.

valuable__ :worthless
bad : : : : : : good
wise foolish
unpleasant : : : : : :_ pleasant




s o o so o : A 0 :0 wse
M O M O Q M
Hm 0 w m O < o O HM
0 z c a 0q 0

2 X
H M H


9. In times of a budget crunch, faculty should teach
heavier loads in lieu of doing research.

pleasant_ : : : : : unpleasant
foolish wise
bad___ :___ : : : good
worthless valuable




HM M mm m a m ac Q ma m HM
A^ H S S H 0 0 5 O Am i
m< M4 0 AO M 01
Hm 0 o o u
Q0 H M 01 W

H M H











10. University College should be eliminated.

wise : : : : :follish
valuable : : : : worthless
pleasant : : :_ : unpleasant
bad :__ : : : : : good




C-i I B' 'C a H 0 0 a sz i

badZ : good Z
1Z 0 > Z
I- M M W W
4 > > O
U) zmLD
H 4 H


11. All U.F. students should be required to attend at
least one summer session to graduate.

pleasant : : : : : : unpleasant
bad : : : : : : good
valuable : : : : : : worthless
foolish___ :: wise




4Q> 4 > 0 Q Q >i0 EHi 4>
-1 l 'C W' 'C; 0 H 0 'CO Z 40
HW C 4 m o M r W WH
H4 a 4~ a 0 'C 'C 0 40 4 HO
("I H > a4 4 0 >0 U0 'C

OH 4 M U H
z E z
H 4 H


12. The Florida Twelfth Grade Placement Test should be
abolished.

foolish wise
pleasant : : : : : : unpleasant
good___:___:_: : bad
valuable-: :worthless





O W a n0 C C 0 O n 0 H
F4 > H 4 > W 0 W W
HO '4 > 4 U

H 4 M U H,
H M H






63




13. U.F. should change from the quarter system to a
semester system.

worthless : : valuable
wise foolish
bad__ : :___ __ : : good
unpleasant _: __ : : : : pleasant






Mo >p a4iu fo ri h > U solb
h >h 0 H H 0 >0 A I A

Q 3 U E
EZ X w z
H W H


14. Undergraduate students in majors that require large
monetary expenditures for their educations should be
charged higher tuition.

bad : : : : : : good
wise : : : : : : foolish
unpleasant__ : : : : : pleasant
valuable : : : : : : worthless



x H >ci ci i A i ciQ >c Ei H H>




15. Registration periods should be set up according to the
Am 0 > M H H 0 >0 A Am
-I L i H > -l > aA4> '
EW W E0l
7 E H 3 7 2
H H H



15. Registration period should be set up according to the
student's classification, i.e., seniors enroll first,
juniors, etc.


good : : : : bad
pleasant : : : : : : unpleasant
wise : : : foolish
worthless : : : : valuable




M> >ci Q H A Ha a > H >
H A HA A 0 A H 0 0 2 HII
Am M H M > 0 0 >0 W Wm

7M H > 7
HE Z U EH
E M I











16. Physicians should be allowed to advertise their
prices.


foolish : : : :
pleasant : : : : :
good
valuable: : : :


-: wise
: unpleasant
: bad
: worthless


am >C4 0 Q 0 >Q Q E-i Q P >
H 0 0 P 1 0 W O O M HW

> ( i P4 > U

H x z
H H H



































APPENDIX II

EXPERIMENTAL MATERIALS











UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
GAINESVILLE




May 25, 1976

COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC RLF.ATIONS
Department of Speech

Dear U.F. Student,

The University's Office of Communication and Public
Relations is responsible for informing Florida high school
students of the educatirioal opportunities at the University
of Florida. Part of the present recruitment program includes
determining the responses of potential U.F. students to
several proposed university policy changes.
Rather than asking 1he students to respond to a policy state-
ment in its technical form, we feel that a more realistic
response can be assessed by having them say whether they agree
or disagree with statements actually written by U.F. college
students.
In order to elicit Lhe authentic feedback which we desire,
we need your cooperation. Since we want all viewpoints to be
fairly represented, we aie asking some students to write essays
in favor of 24-hour visitation in dormitories and some students
to write essays opposing the policy. Since we have already
received the student paragraphs written in opposition to
restricted visitation, w- are asking that you write a paragraph
in favor of this policy.
Each high school student will receive an envelope which
contains letters from s(,eeral U.F. college students. There
will be some Letters which are in favor of 24-hr. visitation and
some which are opposed. In this way, the high school students
can learn about both sides of the issue and decide for themselves
where they stand.
On the enclosed "memo" please write the most persuasive
paragraph which you can think of in favor of restricted
visitation.
The members of the office of Communication and Public
Relations are grateful i r your assistance in this project and
we will let you know how prospective students feel about
visitation policies just as soon as we can.
Thank you again for your cooperation.

Sincerely,



Fred Kerlinger, Chrm.
Office of Communication and
Public Relations
FK/wds






67




UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
GAINESVILLE



COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
Department of Speech










Experimental Messages


Global Association:









Extended Commission:














Careless Commission:















Purposive Commission


Before I read the letters from the
college students, I thought that
24-hr. visitation was a good thing,
but I've changed my mind. Now I
don't think it's such a good idea.
I had the idea that it might be good
before I saw the letters but now
I'm against it.

I used to think that 24-hr. visita-
tion was good, but I've changed my
mind. Even though you couldn't know
that your letter would make me change
my mind and you didn't really mean
to, it made me think that 24-hr.
visitation isn't such a good idea.
Before, I thought it might not be a
bdd idea, but not now. And even
though you couldn't have had any
idea that your letter would make me
think different about it, it sure
did.

Before I read your letter, I thought
that 24-hr. visitation was a good
thing. Even though you didn't
really mean to change my mind, when
you wrote the letter you probably
knew that it might.' Now 1 think
that 24-hr. visitation isn't such
a good idea. Before, I had the idea
that it might be a good idea, but
now 1 don't think so. Maybe you
didn't mean to make me think like
you even if you knew that would
h.ippen, but anyway now I'm against
it too.

: before I read your letter, I
thought 24-hr. visitation was a good
thing. I am glad that you tried to
(et me to change my mind and that
you knew your letter would convince
me. Now I think that 24-hr. visita-
tLon isn't such a good idea. Before,
L thought it might be, but now I
don't. I think you meant to make me
think like you and knew that I would,
but that's OK, you were right,
causee now I'm against it too.






69



Justified Commission: Before I read your letter, 1
thought that 24 hr. visitation was
a good thing. Even though you had
to write the letter as an assign-
ment, I am glad that you tried to
get me to change my mind and that
you realized your letter would
convince me. Now I think that
24-hr. visitation isn't such a good
idea. Before, I thought it might
be good, but not now. I think you
wanted me to think like you and
knew that would happen, but that's
OK. I'm glad you had to do that
assignment because now I'm against
it too.










Opening and Closing Remarks for Experimental Messages


Form I: Dear (subject's first name),

I'm going to be a freshman at U.F. this fall.
Since I'm going to live in a dorm, the letters
were very useFul to me.

(experimental message inserted here)

Thanks for helping me decide about dorm life.

Sincerely,
(bogus name)


Form II: Dear (subject's first name),

I'm really looking forward to coming to U.F.
this fall. I will be living in a dorm my first
year so the letters were really interesting.

(experimental message inserted here)

Thanks again for helping me make up my mind.

Sincerely,
(bogus name)


Form III: Dear (subject's first name),

Since I'm going to be a college student this
year and live in a dorm, the letters were
really good.

(experimental message inserted here)

Now I know how I feel about visitation in
dorms. Thanks.


Sincerely,
(bogus name)



































APPENDIX III

POSTTEST QUESTIONNAIRE













UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
GAINESVILLE







COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
Department of Speec:1




Dear U.F. Student,


Thank you for your assistance in orientation of incoming
freshmen. In order to complete our assessment of student
attitudes about dormitory visitation policies, please take a
moment to respond to thl following items. Please mark each
scale in the blank that BEST represents how you feel about
visitation.




Dorms should have :'-hour visitation.


Pleasant :
Foolish
Good
Valuable









E W


:_ : Unpleasant
: ._:____ Wise
: : Bad
: : Worthless


< a
Cm 0

3


O 0
0 0
o a

a
>


Z t.
M '
Ia Z
U [
N H
H H











Please take a moment of your time to respond to
items. For each item, make a circle around the
BEST represents the degree of your agreement or
with the statement above, it.


I feel responsible for changing the
student who responded to my letter.

1 2 3


I feel that
letter.


the following
number which
disagreement


attitude of the high school



1 5






0
U
0
to


I had a choice about whether or not to write the


3 4 5


The Office of Communication and Public Relations would like
to thank you very much for your cooperation in this project.
Your participation has insured that the issue of dormitory
visitation has been fairly represented and that student opinion
will be made known. Many such projects have been criticized
for having somewhat obscure reasons for the requests made of
students. Did you feel that the objectives of this project were
explained clearly enough? If not, please briefly explain why
you feel as you do.















REFERENCES


Arkin, R., Gleason, J., and Johnson, S. Effect of
perceived choice, expected outcome, and observed
outcome of an action on the causal attributions of
actors. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,
1976, 12, 151-158.

Aronson, E. Dissonance theory: Progress and problems.
In R. Abelson, E. Aronson, W. McGuire, T. Newcomb,
M. Rosenberg, and P. Tannenbaum (Eds.), Theories
of cognitive consistency: A sourcebook. Chicago:
Rand McNally, 1968.

Bem, D. Self-perception: An alternative interpretation
of cognitive dissonance phenomena. Psychological
Review, 1967, 74, 183-200.

Bodaken, E., and Miller, G. Choice and prior audience
attitude as determinants of attitude change
following counterattitudinal advocacy. Speech
Monographs, 1971, 38, 107-112.

Brehm, D. Increasing cognitive dissonance by a fait
accompli. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology,
1959, 58, 379-382.

Brehm, D., and Cohen, A. Explorations in cognitive
dissonance. New York: Wiley, 1962.

Brehm, J., and Jones, R. The effect on dissonance of
surprise consequences. Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology, 1970, 6, 420-431.

Burgoon, J., Burgoon, M., and Vaughn, D. The construc-
tion of more precise and efficient rating scales.
Unpublished manuscript, University of Florida, 1977.

Calder, B., Ross, J., and Insko, C. Attitude change and
attitude attribution: Effects of incentive, choice,
and consequences in the Festinger and Carlsmith
paradigm. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 1973, 25, 84-99.










Carlsmith, J., Collins, B., and Helmreich, E. Studies
in forced compliance: I. The effect of pressure
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH


My father, Dewey R. Stinnett, retired from the

Chesapeake and Ohio railroad after 52 years of service as

a railroad engineer. My mother, born in Huntington,

West Virginia, is a dedicated wife and mother. Although

neither of my parents attended high school, they both

highly valued education. Because of this,they sacrificed

greatly to see their only son receive a quality education.

However, in regard to the quantity of education, I don't

believe they expected me to be in school until I was

32 years old.

After high school graduation, I majored in speech and

theatre at Marshall University in luntington, West

Virginia, where I received a Bachelor of Arts in 1968.

The next year I entered the School of Interpersonal

Communication at Ohio University and received a master's

degree in 1971, following considerable turmoil both

academically and personally. After a year of unemploy-

ment and semi-employment, I received a position as

instructor in the Department of Speech at the University

of Nebraska at Omaha. Upon the urging of my friends,

colleagues, and economic necessity, I decided to leave

Omaha and pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree. After





81



one year in a doctoral program at West Virginia University,

I transferred to the University of Florida, where after

much ill feeling as well as much good feeling I received

the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in speech

in August, 1977.

Last year I was employed as an assistant professor

in the Department of Communication and Theatre at Arizona

State University in Tempe, Arizona, where I will be

returning this fall.










I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.




Michael Burgoon Chairman
Associate Professor of Speech



I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation ind is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.




Jydee K. Burgoon
(Asistant Professor of Speech



I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.

Sy /

Thomas J. Saine III
Assistant Professor of Speech



I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.




Barry R. Sqhlenker
Associate Professor of Psychology










I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms Lo acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.




Marvin E. Shaw
Professor of Psychology



This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of the Department of Speech in the College of Arts and
Sciences and to the Graduate Council, and was accepted
as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

August, 1977


Dean, Graduate School












































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