Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Kenneth DeBono




relevance, message, information, communication, essays, condition


Research demonstrates that not only framing a message in a personally relevant way can influence how relevant an issue is perceived to be, but also that personal relevance moderates attitude accessibility. Attitude accessibility, in turn, influences the selective interpretation effect. Therefore, it was hypothesized that people who read a personally relevant message will be more likely to selectively interpret subsequent information than people who read a non-personally relevant message. In this study, ninety-eight subjects were tested; half were in a personally relevant condition and the other half were in a non-personally relevant condition. Subjects in the personally relevant condition rated their attitude on Union College raising tuition, while subjects in the non-personally relevant condition rated their attitude on Public Universities raising tuition. Afterwards, all participants read two essays, one arguing for an increase in tuition in colleges and one arguing against an increase in tuition. Participants rated which essay was superior through four questions. The essays were pre-tested to ensure one was not better then the other. Although the results were non-significant, they were suggestive. Subjects in the personally relevant condition more biasedly interpreted the essays than subjects in the non-personally relevant condition.