Risk information processing and the inclusion of self-monitoring
Egnoto, Michael J.
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There is an obvious need to persuade people to make certain decisions in risk scenarios that are beneficial to the individual and others. This work explores the impact of self-monitoring and group identity on how risk messages are processed, as well as their outcomes on individuals' beliefs about the risks. The goal of this investigation is to measure attitude shift after assessing group identity and presenting participants with in-group and out-group messages on risk topics. Additionally, a zero-history group manipulation is also conducted to determine if existing group identities can be overcome with newly formed groups with specific attributes. To achieve this end two studies were conducted measuring attitudes on two controversial risk related topics, abortion and gun control. Results support prior group identity but not zero-history group identity as a primary force in determining the effectiveness of messages aimed at changing attitudes on risk topics. Additionally, messages from other groups are processed more systematically and are received more negatively than in-group messages. Limitations of topic manipulation, selection, and alternative explanations as well as future directions are also explored.