Ambivalence As an Inoculating Agent: a Built-In Defense Against Attitude Change

Mark Forehand, University of Washington
Mark Staton, University of Washington
Brian Tietje, California Polytechnic State University
A three-phase experiment was conducted to ascertain the effect of initial attitude ambivalence on subsequent susceptibility to attitude change. Regression analyses revealed that subjects were less likely to change their attitude after reading new counter-attitudinal information when their initial attitudes were characterized by high levels of ambivalence (b = -.154; p < .05) indicating the presence of inoculation. These results suggest that ambivalence does not always produce aversion, and in the absence of such aversion, ambivalent consumer attitudes are actually more resistant to new, potentially biasing information.
[ to cite ]:
Mark Forehand, Mark Staton, and Brian Tietje (2007) ,"Ambivalence As an Inoculating Agent: a Built-In Defense Against Attitude Change", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 380-383.