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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Oct;81(4):566-86.

Exploring the structure of strength-related attitude features: the relation between attitude importance and attitude accessibility.

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Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, USA.


One of the most significant current controversies in the attitude literature involves the latent structure of attitude attributes related to their strength. Four studies were conducted to explore whether 2 strength-related attributes (importance and accessibility) are affected identically by various manipulations (which would suggest that they reflect a single latent construct) and whether the attributes cause one another (which would suggest they are distinct constructs). Three laboratory experiments and I survey study show that (a) repeated expression and personal relevance manipulations have different effects on importance and accessibility and (b) increased importance can cause heightened accessibility. Thus, these 2 attitude attributes appear to constitute related but independent constructs. These studies therefore help to illuminate the nature of attitude strength and the interplay of its sources.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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