Journal of Social Sciences

Reversal of Attitude: The Influence of Counter-Attitudinal Information

Pauline Dibbets, Laura Adolphs, Ingeborg Close, Anke Herings, Maiken Kiggen, Maaike Kinneging, Leonie Loffler, Yonne Nijssen, Michel Schulte-Ostermann and Patrick Van Schaaik

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2012.390.396

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 8, Issue 3

Pages 390-396

Abstract

Problem statement: Research has shown that both positive and negative information can alter a neutral attitude towards an unknown person, with negative information having, in general, a larger impact. Though this positive-negative asymmetry has received considerable attention, it has, to our knowledge, not been tested in more current and powerful social media, such as youtube. Although attitudes are not fixed, literature on the reversal of a recently established attitude by providing counter-attitudinal information is sparse. Therefore, the main aims of the present study were to examine positve-negative asymmetry in attitude formation using youtube fragments and to test the permanence of the establihed attitude by providing counter-attitudinal information. Approach: A total of 89 persons received either a positively (P) or a negatively (N) valued youtube fragment concerning a neutral target person. Subsequently, half of each group received positive written information (groups PP and NP) regarding the target person; the other half received negative written information (groups PN and NN). Results: The results indicate that it is indeed possible to change a neutral attitude using youtube fragments, with a larger attitude change after negative than positive material. Textual information reversed this attitude, with an equal effect for positive and negative information. Conclusion/Recommendations: It is possible to quickly change an attitude towards a neutral person using youtube fragments, this formed attitude can easily be reversed by providing textual counter-attitudinal information. These findings can contribute to gaining a better understanding of the effect of modern social media on attitude formation and its transiency.

Copyright

© 2012 Pauline Dibbets, Laura Adolphs, Ingeborg Close, Anke Herings, Maiken Kiggen, Maaike Kinneging, Leonie Loffler, Yonne Nijssen, Michel Schulte-Ostermann and Patrick Van Schaaik. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.