Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science






participants, attitudes, framing, bredesen, condition


How people conceptualize their opinions, either in a supportive or oppositional manner, influences the strength with which they hold those opinions. This differential conceptualization is referred to as the valence framing effect in which oppositional attitudes are more resistant to persuasion than supportive attitudes. However, it is unclear whether negatively framed attitudes lead to more resistance to persuasion, positively framed attitudes lead to less resistance, or both. Surprisingly, a control condition has never been included in valence framing studies. Therefore, the current study includes a control condition in which the participants’ attitudes are framed in a neutral manner. Participants read about two fictitious job candidates, Smith and Bredesen, for a dean’s position at their college. In the replication condition, participants were either asked their opinion of Smith or their opinion of Bredesen. This forced the participants to conceptualize their opinion in terms of support or opposition for either Smith or Bredesen. For the control condition, participants were asked about both Smith and Bredesen, effectively neutralizing the framing. After stating their initial opinions, participants read a counterattitudinal message about the candidate whom they initially preferred and then re-reported their attitudes. Results indicate that attitude framing had a significant effect on persuasion and that this effect was not mediated by certainty nor was it moderated by whether participants reported their attitude toward one or both of the candidates. Thus, this experiment clarifies under what circumstances the valence framing effect occurs.