Context Effects on Self-Perceptions of Interest in Government and Public Affairs
Previous experiments have shown that when people are asked a question about how interested they are in politics, their answers can be significantly affected by the context in which the question is asked. When asked, for example, how much they “…follow what’s going on in government and public affairs…,” people are much less likely to say they follow such matters “most of the time” if they are asked about it immediately after being unable to answer some rather difficult questions about their United States Congressman’s record than if they are asked about it before such questions (see Bishop et al., 1982, 1984b). Similarly, when asked how interested they were “…in following the political campaigns…,” people were significantly more likely to say they were “very interested” when asked about it immediately after, rather than before, giving answers to several questions about the 1980 presidential election campaign, answers that implied that they were quite interested in following the political campaigns that year (see Bishop, Oldendick, & Tuchfarber, 1982, 1984a). Such is the influence of question order and context on people’s self-perceptions.
KeywordsTransportation Itan Amex
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Bern, D.J. (1978). Self -perception theory. In L. Berkowitz, (Ed.), Cognitive theories in social psychology. New York: Academic PressGoogle Scholar
- Heisenberg, W. (1974). Across the frontiers. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
- Loftus, G.R., & Loftus, E.F. (1976). Human memory; The processing of information. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Miller, W.E. (1978). American National Election Study, 1978, Ann Arbor, Ml: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, University of Michigan.Google Scholar
- Schuman, H., & Presser, S. (1981). Questions and answers in attitude surveys. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Wyer, R.S., Jr., & Hartwick, J. (1980). The role of information retrieval and conditional inference processes in belief formation and change. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.) Advances in experimental social psychology. Vol.13. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Wyer, R.S., Jr., & Srull, T.K. (1981). Category accessibility: Some theoretical and empirical issues concerning the processing of social stimulus information. In E.T. Higgins, C.P. Herman, & M.P. Zanna (Eds.) Social cognition; The Ontario symposium, Vol. 1 Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Ass.Google Scholar