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Assessing the impact of affective and cognitive information in predicting attitudes toward capital punishment

Haddock, Geoffrey and Zanna, M. P. 1998. Assessing the impact of affective and cognitive information in predicting attitudes toward capital punishment. Law and Human Behavior 22 (3) , pp. 325-339. 10.1023/A:1025758623612

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Abstract

Research studying the public's attitudes toward capital punishment has typically assessed whether individuals favor or oppose the use of the death penalty, without examining the underlying structure of these attitudes. The present study used a general model of attitude to examine the relative importance of affective information (i.e., feelings) and cognitive information (i.e., beliefs) in predicting attitudes toward capital punishment. Open-ended elicitation measures were used to determine the particular feelings and beliefs respondents most frequently associated with the issue. Participants also reported their attitude (i.e., overall evaluation) toward the issue. The results revealed that: (a) even the most frequently elicited responses were provided by a minority of respondents, (b) overall, both affective and cognitive information were important in predicting attitudes toward capital punishment, and (c) the relative importance of affective and cognitive information in predicting attitudes differed as a function of individual differences in attitude structure. The implications of the results for future research are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0147-7307
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:14
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/35119

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