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Attitudinal vs. Normative Messages: An Investigation of the Differential Effects of Persuasive Communications on Behavior

Icek Ajzen
Sociometry
Vol. 34, No. 2 (Jun., 1971), pp. 263-280
DOI: 10.2307/2786416
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786416
Page Count: 18
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Attitudinal vs. Normative Messages: An Investigation of the Differential Effects of Persuasive Communications on Behavior
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Abstract

Several hypotheses about the influence of persuasive communication on behavior were derived from Fishbein's extension of Dulany's theory of propositional control and tested using a two-person Prisoner's Dilemma game. According to the theory, a persuasive message will influence a player's behavioral intention (BI), and hence his behavior (B), only if it affects either A-act, his attitude toward the act, and/or NBs(Mcs), his normative beliefs (i,e., his perception of the other player's expectations), multiplied by his motivation to comply with the norms. Two types of persuasive messages were given, one directed at A-act, the other at NBs. Orthogonal to the message type, two motivational orientations were created, cooperation and competition. Consistent with earlier findings, A-act was found to be more important than NBs(Mcs) in predicting BI and B under competition but less important than NBs(Mcs) under cooperation. It was therefore predicted that the attitudinal message would change behavior more effectively in the competitive than in the cooperative situation while the normative message would be more effective in cooperative than in competitive groups. The results supported this hypothesis.

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