Personality factors in persuasion : dogmatism and internal-external locus of control

No Thumbnail Available
Taka, Perry L.
Popovich, Mark N.
Issue Date
Thesis (M.A.)
Other Identifiers

An investigation of factors in the persuasion process was conducted in this thesis. Personalitys factors of dogmatism and Internal-External locus of control were examined to determine whether they would be meaningful predictors of opinion change to a persuasive communication. The researcher also examined whether these two personality factors would interact with varying degrees of source credibility.The researcher had expected both personality factors would be significant predictors of a criterion of attitude change, and that once statistical control for dogmatism and Internal-External locus of control had been provided, there would not be a significant relationship at the .05 level between source credibility and attitude change.To test these assumptions a controlled experiment was conducted with 94 subjects drawn from three Ball State University Journalism classes. The subjects were administered a pretest to determine their initial attitude to an issue of tuition tax credits (i.e., a credit that may be deducted from parents' income tax for children attending college). Subjects were subsequently exposed-to a persuasive communication which argued against the tuition tax credit proposal, and then retested to determine whether there had been a shift in opinion. After subjects had responded to the posttest they were asked to argue for and against the topic. According to Rokeach's theory of the "open and closed mind," the researcher had expected to find argumentation to be related to a person's belief system, whether it was open or closed, and therefore also correlated with attitude change.Findings of the multiple regression analysis failed to substantiate the original assumptions and the research hypotheses predicting a significant relationship between the two personality factors and attitude change at the .05 level were rejected.Argumentation, however did prove to be related to attitude change, significant beyond the .01 level, but was unbound to the two personality factors. The researcher proposed that this relationship could have been the result of cognitive dissonance on the part of subjects when they were forced to choose between two positively valued beliefs: 1) a belief that tuition tax credits could help ease the burden of rising college costs, and 2) a more traditional belief that "each man whould pull his own weight in society."According to this theory, subjects who changed in their initial liking for tuition tax credits from the pretest to posttest felt compelled to offer counterarguments to justify their switch in opinion in the face of information that tuition tax credits could ultimately benefit them.