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Interactive effects of writing and reading a persuasive essay on attitude change and selective exposure

136 German high school students wrote an essay either supporting their own position on an issue or irrelevant to that issue. Subsequently, they received a communication that either supported or opposed their position and that either claimed to present the only reasonable position or acknowledged the viability of alternative positions. Then, they reported their own beliefs on the position being advocated and, finally, were given an opportunity to obtain information that either supported or opposed this position. Attitude change in the direction of a proattitudinal communication occurred only when both (a) this communication asserted that only the position advocated was defensible and (b) Ss had previously written a proattitudinal essay themselves. Moreover, either of these factors was sufficient to prevent attitude change in the direction of a counterattitudinal communication. Data support predictions based upon a joint consideration of commitment and reactance effects. (13 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)