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Full text of "Attitude change and self-attribution of responsibility as functions of attributions of others"

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! 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

LIST OF TABLES 

ABSTRACT 

CHAPTER I. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM 

Introduction 

Review of Research 

Rationale 

CHAPTER II. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES 

Overview 

Subjects and Materials 

Procedure 

CHAPTER III. RESULTS 

Manipulation Check . 

Attitude Change 

Self-Attribution of Responsibility 

CHAPTER IV. DISCUSSION 

APPENDIX I. PRETEST QUESTIONNAIRE 

APPENDIX II. EXPERIMENTAL MATERIALS 

APPENDIX III. POSTTEST QUESTIONNAIRE 

REFERENCES 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . 



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34 
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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. 



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, Ilelmreich, 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, 197.1; 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, 
responsibili ty, 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. Bern (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 Res earch 
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 



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 (binder, 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 lias been shown 
to be necessary for the production of dissonance, other 
research and interpretations indicate that it is not 
sufficient. Aronson (1968), Nel , Helmreich, 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. 4 31) 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 



10 



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 respons ible 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 Hoyt (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 



11 



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 50C (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 (50C 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 
pesonal 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 



12 



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. 



13 



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, foreseeabi lity , 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 



14 



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, f oreseeability , 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 tie 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 Ileider'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. 



16 



Sources of felt responsibili ty. The impact of the 
communication of perceptions and judgments of others on 
one's behavior has received attention in several lines of 
research. Bern (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 inadvertantly (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, 



17 



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 Zimmerman (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-commitment will occur and can be de- 
scribed by the term 'external commitment'" (p. 247). 



19 



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 



20 



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 attitude discrepancies in counter- 
attitudinal situations are 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 counte cattitudinal 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 



21 



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 



22 



attributions communicated to the subject by persuaded 
targets should be especially aversive for the persuader 
when the persuasive message is counteratti tudinal . 

Hence, the greater the degree of responsibility 
attributed to the actor of a counteratti tudinal 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 and 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 (extended 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, 



23 



which partly justify the action (justified commission) 
(Shaw and Sulzer, 1964) . 

Hypotheses 

Thus, subjects who perform counteratti tudinal be- 
havior and find that the recipient of the consequences of 
their action attributes causality, foreseeability, and 
intention to them for the 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: 

H, : Following counterat ti tudinoJ 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. 



2 4 



H_ : Following coun teratti tudinal 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. 

H • Following coun teratti tudinal advocacy, sub- 
jects whose targets communicate careless 
commission attributions to them will demon- 
strate more altitude 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 coun terattitudinal advocacy, subjects 
whose targets communicate careless commission 
attributions to them will express more felt 
responsibility than those who receive global 
association oj extended commission attributions 
but less than those receiving purposive commis- 
sion attributions. 



CHAPTER II 
EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE 



Overview 



The methods for testing 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 th.it 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 asked to respond to attitude items 
and items measuring felt responsibility. 

Subjects and Materials 

Sub j ects . 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 



2 r > 



2h 



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. 

Pre test questionnad re. 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 11-point known interval scale. The 
semantic differential scales 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 



27 



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 counteratti tudinally . 

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 2) 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 



2 8 



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 three raters agreed were included in 
the analysis. 

Experimental condit Ions . 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 



29 



it's such a good idea. L 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 effect — the 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 connecied with in any way. Therefore the 
idea that the high schooi 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 (Extended 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 



30 



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 might 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 foresee 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 



31 



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 v/as 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. 



32 



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 i he same four semantic differential- 
type scales and the Known 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 defect 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 counterattituclinal essay. Students who were 
absent on the day the counteratti tudinal essays were 
written served as a pre test-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 < ounterattitudinal 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 us>.'d in these analyses use formulas 
adjusted for unequal cell sizes. 

Man i pulation Che ck 

In order to demonstrate subject's perception of 
choice, a one-way analysis of variance was performed for 
the five experimental conditions and the primary control 
condition (Cl). In this analysis, the F value was not 
significant at the .05 ' evel (see Table 1). This indicates 



3 4 



3 5 



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 analyst: of variance of scores for choice 
manipulation 



Global Extended Careless Purposive Justified 

Control Association Commission Commission Commission Commission 



2-62 2.27 2.78 2.60 3.36 2.54 

N=13 N=15 N=l>: N=15 N=25 N=ll 



Source of Variance df 



Between 5 7.0 7 1.41 

Within 

Total 



5 


7.0 7 


1.41 


91 


144.14 


1.58 


96 


151.21 





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



Attitude Change 

Experimental a nalys Ls of semantic differential . The 
analysis of variance for the semantic differential scores 
produced a significant r ratio (see Table 2). The t tests 
demonstrated significant differences between means for 
global association (GA) and purposive commission (PC), 



36 



Table 2. Means and analysis of variance of experimental groups for 
semantic differenl Lai change scores 



Global Extended Careless Purposive Justified 
Association Commission Commission Commission Commission 



1.31 3.60 2.44 8.12 7.15 

N=15 N=18 N=15 N=25 N=ll 



Source of Variance df SS MS 



Between 4 62 2.57 155.64 4.71 

Within 78 2577.12 33.04 

Total 82 3199.69 



Note: Attitude change was measured with four seven-point semantic 
differential scales. These scales were summed for both pretest and 
posttest scores. The difference scores could range from 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 "suits 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 than all other experimental subjects 
except for those receiving purposive commission attribu- 
tions. The analysis of variance for semantic differential 



37 



scores accounted for 19 percent of the total 
variance . 



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



1 
Comparison 



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=Extencled 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 Sc;le change scores 



Global Extended Careless Purposive Justified 

Association Commission Commission Commission Commission 



1-12 1.26 .85 3.06 2.32 

N=14 N=18 N-16 N=24 N=ll 



Source of Variance df SS 



Between ; 87.56 21.89 3.90 <.05 

Within 

Total 



4 


87.56 


21.89 


78 


4 37.41 


5.61 


82 


524.97 





Note: Attitude change was measured 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 experimental comparisons for Known Interval Scale 
change scores 



Comparison 



GA:EC .20 ns 

GA:CC .36 ns 

GA:PC 2.4 3 <.05 

GA : JC 1.32 ns 

EC:CC .51 ns 

EC: PC 2.47 <.0 5 

EC:JC 1.17 ns 

CC.-PC 4.71 <.05 

CC:JC 1.59 ns 

PC:JC .86 ns 

Critical value for t (<.05, df=78) = 1.66. 



39 



Control comparison s. 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 ' s t 



Control 


1.56 


■1.46 




GA 


1.13 


4.78 


.41 


EC 


3.60 


5.71 


1.58 


CC 


2.44 


5.7 3 


1.46 


PC 


8.12 


5 . 66 


10.4 7 


JC 


7.15 


6.48 


3.5 5 



ns 
ns 
ns 

<.05 
<.05 



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



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 essavs. There were no differences 



4 



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 Interval Scale change scores 



Group 



Control 

GA 

EC 

CC 

PC 

JC 



.27 

1.12 
1.26 
.85 
3 . 06 
2.32 



SD 



1.80 
3.11 
2 . 26 
1.50 
2.79 
2.82 



Dunnett ' s t 



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



.91 
1.1] 

.51 
3.29 
2.06 



ns 
ns 
ns 
<.05 
ns 



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 8). 



41 



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



Mean (CI) SD(C1) Mean (C2) SD (C2) 



Semantic 


1.56 


Differential 


N=ll 


Scales 




Known Interval 


.27 


Scales 


N=ll 



4.46 .48 3.98 .39 
N=26 



.18 1.45 .16 

N = 26 



S elf-Attribution of Respo nsibility 

Experimental analy sis. 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 Careless Purposive Justified 

Association Commission Commission Commission Commission 



3-57 2.94 3.36 4.12 4.07 

N=14 N=18 N=16 N=24 N=ll 



Source of Variance df SS 



Between 

Within 

Total 



4 


16.35 


4.09 


3.01 


<.05 


78 


81.14 


1.30 






82 


96.49 









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



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



Comparison 



GA.-EC 1.08 ns 

GA:CC .66 ns 

GA:PC 2.44 <.05 

GA:JC 1.98 <.05 

EC:CC .95 ns 

EC: PC 3.89 <,0 5 

EC:JC 3.11 <.05 

CC.-PC 1.77 <.05 

CC:JC 1.70 <.05 

PC:JC .45 ns 

Critical value for t (-.05, df=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 



43 



44 



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 



45 



indeed require more justification than was offered in this 
experiment. 

Foreseeabiiity . As stated in hypothesis three, 
subjects who received careless commission messages should 
have demonstrated more felt responsibility than subjects 
who received attribution messages not containing fore- 
seeabiiity manipulations (Heider, 1958; Shaw and Sulzer, 
1964). Although the moans 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 significance. 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) foreseeabiiity 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 foreseeabiiity of negative 
consequences is sufficient to produce attitude change in 
all circumstances. In the present study, the notion of 



4 6 



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. 



47 



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 (19 72) 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 



4 8 



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 counLerattitudinal 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 chanqed 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 



4 9 



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 (Bom, 1967; Festinger, 1954; 
Rosenthal, 1964; Schacter and Singer, 1962; Nisbett and 
Schacter, 1966; Storms and Nisbett, 1970; Valins, 1966; 
Nunson and Kiesler, 197 1; Miller, Brickman, and Bolen, 
19 75; Rosenbaum and Zimmerman, 195 9) . 

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 



50 



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; VaJins 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 counteratti tudinal 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 responsib ility . Consistent with the Collins 
and Hoyt (1972) interpretation, this analysis supports a 
personal-responsibility-f or-consequences explanation of 



51 



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 a similar effect. 

Collins and Hoyt ( 1972) 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 th.it 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 to 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, 1^11) or was the recipient of the 
consequences of that action. 



52 



Cognitive dissonan ce. 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 (197 7), it appears that it is possible to 
introduce postdecisiona 1 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 



5 3 



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 present 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 i n terms of impression manage- 
ment. 

While not contradicting self-perception theory (Bern, 
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 



54 



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 di ssonance 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. 



55 



With the semantic differential scales only 12 percent 
of the variance was accounted for by the justified 
commission vs. purposive 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 phenomena. 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 inadvertantly confounded with the 
attribution of responsibility predictions. In addition 
to including intentiona 1 ity 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 researc h. -\ 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 



56 



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 . 



5 9 



1. Dorms should have 24-hour visitation. 



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



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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. 



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60 


4. All lower division courses at 


U.F. should be taught 


by graduate teaching assistants. 




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5. The U.F. libraries should be changed to a " 


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6. Traveling squat 


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. teams should 


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61 



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



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



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



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62 



10. 



University College should be eliminated. 



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53 






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



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12 



The Florida Twelfth Grade Placement Test should be 
abolished. 





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63 



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



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



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worthless 



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15. Registration period .:> should be set up according to the 
student's classi f ication , i.e., seniors enroll first, 
juniors, etc. 





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16. Physicians should be allowed to advertise their 
prices . 



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APPENDIX II 
EXPERIMENTAL MATERIALS 



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 
GAINESVILLE 



May 25, 19 76 

COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS 
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 educational 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 the 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 the authentic feedback which we desire, 
we need your cooperation. Since we want al] viewpoints to be 
fairly represented, we are 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, we are asking that you write a paragraph 
in favor of this policy. 

Each high school stu lent will receive an envelope which 
contains letters from several 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 o) fice of Communication and Public 
Relations are grateful for 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 

6 6 



6 7 



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 
GAINESVILLE 



COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS 
Department of Speech 



G8 



Experimental Messages 



Global Association: 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 i t . 

Extended Commission: 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 
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. 

Careless Commission: 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 I 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 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. 

Purposive Commission: Before I read your letter, I 

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



6 9 



Justified Commission: Before I read your letter, I 

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. 



10 



Opening and Closing R emarks for Experimental Messages 

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

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

(experinv.Mital 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 Speech 



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 the following items. Please mark each 
scale in the blank that BEST represents how you feel about 
visitation. 



Dorms should have 24-hour visitation. 



Pleasant 

Foolish 

Good 

Valuable 



Unpleasant 

Wise 

Bad 

Worthless 



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



I feel responsible for changing the attitude of the high school 
student who responded to my letter. 



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I feel that I had a choice about whether or not to write the 
letter . 



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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. 



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REFERENCES 



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perceived choice, expected outcome, and observed 
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7 4 



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7 6 



Eagly, A., and Whitehead, G. Effect of choice on 

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7 7 



Miller, G., and Burgoon, M. New T echniques of persuasion. 
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7 9 



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Personality, 1965, 33, 233-255. 



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 Huntington, 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 



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. 



■V 



Michael Bur goon /Chairman 
Associate Professor of Speech 



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. 



( '■ ; y A 



M 



C 



Judee K. Burgoon 

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. 



v/ 



/ / 

/ 



'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 ly. Sqhlenker 

Associate Professor of Psychology 



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. 









Marvin E. Shaw 
Professor of Psychology 



This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty 
of the Department of Spoech 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 



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 

lllllilll 

3 1262 08553 00.57