Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of decision importance on free-choice attitude change. It was predicted that the magnitude of the free-choice effect would be a quadratic function of the importance of the decision: The greatest change was expected following a decision of moderate importance, while decisions of high and low importance were expected to produce less change. In the first experiment, subjects were asked to choose a gift subscription to one of several magazines. Importance was manipulated by varying the length of the subscription. In the second experiment, subjects were asked to endorse their preferred candidate for a political office. Importance was manipulated by varying the office for which the candidates were vying and the use to which the subjects' selections would be put. The results of both studies were consistent with the predictions. The implications of the quadratic findings for subsequent research were discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science