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Belief in the Holocaust: Effects of Personality and Propaganda

Linda M. Yelland and William F. Stone
Political Psychology
Vol. 17, No. 3 (Sep., 1996), pp. 551-562
DOI: 10.2307/3791968
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3791968
Page Count: 12
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Belief in the Holocaust: Effects of Personality and Propaganda
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Abstract

The effects of Holocaust denial propaganda were investigated in two experimental studies with college student subjects. Subjects in both experiments read excerpts from either (a) a denial document, (b) a factual description of Auschwitz, or (c) a control document, after which they responded to a Holocaust belief scale. Reading the denial propaganda lowered Holocaust belief scores. Also, personality differences in susceptibility to denial propaganda were found. In both studies, authoritarians who read the denial propaganda believed less that the Holocaust had actually happened, and those high in humanism believed more strongly in the Holocaust, over all conditions. Additionally, Study 2 revealed that subjects high in interpersonal trust were more influenced by the denial propaganda than those low in trust. Over all conditions, low ethnocentrics, as well as those knowledgeable about the World War II period, believed more strongly that the Holocaust had actually happened than did their opposite numbers.

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