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Lydon, J., Zanna, M., & Ross, M. (1988). Bolstering newly-formed attitudes by autobiographical recall: Implications for attitude persistence and selective memory. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 14, 78-86.



The present research was designed to determine whether the recall of attitudinally-relevant behavior bolsters a newly-formed attitude as evidenced by the persistence of attitudes and the selectivity of memory. Experimental subjects heard a persuasive message that changed their attitudes as compared with those of a survey control group. Half of the experimental subjects were then induced to recall autobiographical behavior relevant to the message (relevant recall condition); the other half were asked to recall behavior irrelevant to the message. Attitudes were assessed following this recall and at a second session, 2 weeks later. At the second session, a test of memory for the persuasive message and a counterattack (provided at the end of the initial session) was administered. Subjects in the relevant behavior recall condition remembered more information from the persuasive message and less from the counterattack than those recalling irrelevant behavior. The attitude persistence results were less conclusive. The selective memory results support the hypothesis that behavioral recall bolsters newly formed attitudes. However, such bolstering per se may not be sufficient to prevent attitude decay.

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