Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

1-2021

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Communication

Degree Program

Communication, MA

Committee Chair

Leichty, Greg B.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Ferré, John P.

Committee Member

Ferré, John P.

Committee Member

Farrier, Jasmine

Author's Keywords

threats to freedom; concern of deception; social judgment theory; motivated reasoning

Abstract

This study explored what kind of persuasive resistance strategies people used when faced with information that was contrary to their existing belief system. A typology of resistance strategies as articulated by Fransen, Smit, & Verlegh (2015), was used to guide the development of a coding system. I coded the public quotes of supporters of a political candidate after sexual misconduct allegations came to light. The first research question investigated was: What kinds of persuasion resistance strategies were Roy Moore supporters most likely to use? The second was: What kinds of persuasion resistance strategies used tended to co-occur? The most important result of this exploratory study was showing that not only do people think about the resistance strategies they are going to use, but they also verbalize them. People mentally process contesting information, then give them a voice. Empowering strategies emerged as a particularly important persuasion resistance strategy in the current study. A larger study could try to find ways to encourage people to explore the facts of a given situation by anticipating (probability) the resistance responses and dealing with them in naturally occurring contexts.

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