Predicting attitude extremity: The interactive effects of schema development and the need to evaluate and their mediation by evaluative integration

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Abstract

Research on attitude extremity suggests that schemas containing more information about a particular attitude domain are more likely to be associated with extreme attitudes toward objects in that domain when perceivers' responses toward features of the domain are evaluatively integrated. The present study argues that a high need to evaluate may play an important role in determining when schema development will be associated with the integrated responses to different domain features necessary for extremity. Consistent with this argument, data from a nationally representative survey of political attitudes indicated that the need to evaluate was associated with increased extremity across two different indices of the latter; that it moderated the relationships between schema development (in the form of political expertise), on one hand, and increased extremity and integration, on the other; and that the moderating effects of the need to evaluate vis-à-vis extremity were mediated by integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1281-1294
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Volume30
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2004

Keywords

  • Attitude extremity
  • Attitude structure
  • Need to evaluate
  • Political expertise

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