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Behavior Change Mediated by Change in Belief

Greenwald, Anthony G.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Office of Education, United States Public Health Service (USPHS), United States Office of Education, Attitude Change, Behavior Change, Beliefs, Mediation Theory, Persuasive Discourse


When a persuasive communication causes a change in belief, will behavior relevant to the belief also change? The few studies directly relevant to this problem have failed to obtain such behavior change. The first three studies in the present series show definite success in obtaining behavior change mediated by belief change. The fourth experiment offers a reconciliation for these contradictory findings by showing that the pattern of (temporary) belief change with no behavior change occurred only in subjects who, before the communication, committed themselves to a position opposing it. The potential theoretical and practical significance of this last finding was briefly discussed.

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