Reversal of Attitude: The Influence of Counter-Attitudinal Information

Pauline Dibbets, Laura Adolphs, Ingeborg Close, Anke Herings, Maiken Kiggen, Maaike Kinneging, Leonie Loffler, Yonne Nijssen, Michel Schulte-Ostermann, Patrick van Schaaik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract: Problem statement: Research has shown that both positive and negative information can
alter a neutral attitude towards an unknown person, with negative information having, in general, a
larger impact. Though this positive-negative asymmetry has received considerable attention, it has, to
our knowledge, not been tested in more current and powerful social media, such as youtube. Although
attitudes are not fixed, literature on the reversal of a recently established attitude by providing counterattitudinal
information is sparse. Therefore, the main aims of the present study were to examine
positve-negative asymmetry in attitude formation using youtube fragments and to test the permanence
of the establihed attitude by providing counter-attitudinal information. Approach: A total of 89
persons received either a positively (P) or a negatively (N) valued youtube fragment concerning a
neutral target person. Subsequently, half of each group received positive written information (groups
PP and NP) regarding the target person; the other half received negative written information (groups
PN and NN). Results: The results indicate that it is indeed possible to change a neutral attitude using
youtube fragments, with a larger attitude change after negative than positive material. Textual
information reversed this attitude, with an equal effect for positive and negative information.
Conclusion/Recommendations: It is possible to quickly change an attitude towards a neutral person
using youtube fragments, this formed attitude can easily be reversed by providing textual counterattitudinal
information. These findings can contribute to gaining a better understanding of the effect of
modern social media on attitude formation and its transiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Social Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this