A Mediational Theory of Susceptibility to Social Influence

  • W. J. McGuire


Psychology’s two great discoveries, that everyone is basically the same and that everyone is fundamentally different, take turns in being the discipline’s favorite insight. When a new topic becomes fashionable, its study usually opens with a “heroic age” in which researchers seek universal relationships; then, as multiplying studies bring complexities to light, there ensues a longer tidying-up era during which investigators look for interacting contextual variables which modify and even reverse the initially predicted relationship between the variables of interest. For example, when in the late nineteenth century the empirical study of memory began, Ebbinghaus and his early colleagues looked for general laws of learning; but interest gradually shifted from identifying the learning curve to investigating how its parameters are affected by characteristics of the task, the learner, and the situation.


Social Influence Personal Variable Target Person Persuasive Message Chronic Anxiety 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

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  • W. J. McGuire

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