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Behavior Change Mediated by Change in Belief: The Role of Commitment Prior to the Influence Attempt

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


When a persuasive communication causes a change in belief, will behavior relevant to the belief also change? Past experiments have shown both successes and failures in obtaining such behavior change. The present study offers a reconciliation for these differences in findings by showing that the pattern of belief change with no behavior change occurred only in Ss who, before a communication, committed themselves to a position opposing it. Without this commitment, Ss showed no immunity against the effects of the communication on behavior. Some theoretical implications of this finding were discussed briefly.

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