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Is affective material in attitudes more accessible than cognitive material? The moderating role of attitude basis

By Roger Giner-Sorolla


Verplanken, Hofstee, and Janssen (1998) found that the affective component of attitude is accessed more readily than the cognitive. Three studies further examined these findings in the light of two competing explanations: affective primacy, which states that emotional material is inherently more accessible than cognitive; and evaluative primacy, which states that emotional material is more accessible only if it is inherently more evaluative or supports the overall evaluative basis of attitude. Study 1 measured the accessibility of cognitive and affective traits while equalizing the evaluative nature of these traits. This study found a speed advantage for affective traits, but the attitude objects in this study turned out to be mainly affectively based. Studies 2 and 3, using a mixture of affectively and cognitively based objects, found that the speed advantage for affective terms was onlyfound among affectively based objects; Study 3 alsofound a speed advantagefor cognitive terms among cognitively based objects, and additionally found that individual differences in attitude basis explained part of this interaction. Collectively, these studies show that while affective material may be accessed more quickly than cognitive, this is most true when overall evaluation is based on affect rather than cognition. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd

Topics: BF
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Year: 2004
DOI identifier: 10.1002/ejsp.229
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