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Getting at the truth or getting along: Accuracy- versus impression-motivated heuristic and systematic processing

By Serena Chen, David Shechter and Shelly Chaiken


Two studies examined the heuristic and systematic processing of accuracy- versus impression-motivated individuals expecting a discussion with a partner believed to hold either a favorable or unfavorable opinion on the discussion issue. Given the goal of having a pleasant interaction, impressionmotivated (versus accuracy-motivated) participants in both studies were particularly likely to express attitudes that were evaluatively consistent with the partner's opinion, reflecting their selective use of a "go along to get along " heuristic. Study 2 yielded stronger evidence for the distinct nature of heuristic and systematic processing in the service of accuracy versus impression goals. In this study, the evaluative implication of impression-motivated participants ' low-effort application of a "go along to get along " heuristic biased their more effortful, systematic processing, leading to attitudes consistent with the partner's views. In contrast, given the goal of determining an accurate issue opinion, accuracy-motivated participants exhibited relatively evenhanded systematic processing, resulting in attitudes unbiased by the partner's opinion. The results underscore the utility of a dual-process approach to understanding motivated cognition. Intuition and experience suggest that various motives can influence the way in which people process information and th

Year: 1996
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