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Demand Characteristics in an Experiment on Attitude Change

Susan Roth Sherman
Sociometry
Vol. 30, No. 3 (Sep., 1967), pp. 246-261
DOI: 10.2307/2786447
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786447
Page Count: 16
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Demand Characteristics in an Experiment on Attitude Change
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Abstract

Results in the typical experiment on attitude change were hypothesized to be vulnerable to interpretation in terms of responsiveness to demand characteristics (DCs), particularly for subjects high in other-directedness (O-D). One hundred twenty-nine coeds participated in an experiment on attitude toward Negroes. Cues both extrinsic and intrinsic to the experimental communication were varied, using a 2 + 3 design. A communication with strong cues but weak appeals caused more change among subject high in O-D only when other cues suggested favorable change. Another communication, with strong cues and strong appeals, caused more change among subjects high in O-D, regardless of other cues. Results in an experiment relating attitude change to communications and to personality factors must be discussed with reference to the specific communication, personality measures, and attitude measures used. Artifactual effects in terms of responsiveness to DCs must be considered in designing and appraising research on attitude change.

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