Richard E Petty

Richard E Petty
The Ohio State University | OSU · Department of Psychology

B.A., University of Virginia; Ph.D., Ohio State University

About

451
Publications
715,098
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Introduction
Richard E Petty is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University. His work focuses on attitudes and persuasion as well as prejudice, and consumer behavior. His research is available in 8 books and over 400 articles and chapters.
Additional affiliations
January 1987 - present
The Ohio State University
August 1977 - December 1986

Publications

Publications (451)
Article
People exhibit a general unwillingness to engage others on social issues for which they disagree (e.g., political elections, police funding, vaccine mandates, etc.), a phenomenon that contributes to the political polarization vexing societies today. Previous research has largely attributed this unwillingness to the perception that such counterattit...
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Background: The present study analyzes how attitudes can polarize after reminders of death in the context of persuasion, and proposes that a meta-cognitive process (i.e., self-validation) can serve as a compensatory coping mechanism to deal with mortality salience. Method: Participants were first asked to read either a strong or a weak resume of...
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The present research examined the role of metacognitive confidence in understanding to what extent people’s valenced thoughts guide their performance in academic settings. First, students were asked to engage in positive or negative thinking about exams in their major area of study (Study 1) or about themselves (Studies 2 and 3). The valence of the...
Article
Self-validation theory (SVT) is introduced and presented as a series of six postulates. The core notion of SVT is that thoughts become more consequential for judgment and action as the perceived validity of the thoughts is increased. Instead of focusing on the objective accuracy of thoughts, self-validation research focuses on a subjective sense th...
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This article unpacks the basic mechanisms by which paralinguistic features communicated through the voice can affect evaluative judgments and persuasion. Special emphasis is placed on exploring the rapidly emerging literature on vocal features linked to appraisals of confidence (e.g., vocal pitch, intonation, speech rate, loudness, etc.), and their...
Article
Although attitudes are often considered positive or negative evaluations, people often have both positive and negative associations with a target object or issue, and when people are ambivalent, they are typically presumed to find the experience aversive because they are motivated to hold clear, univalent attitudes. Cross‐cultural research, however...
Article
There are many ways consumers' morality has been shown to impact their marketplace behavior. We present a theoretical framework for how to conceive of and study marketplace morality in an attempt to unify these disparate findings. First, we describe two common conceptualizations of marketplace morality: (a) the attribute‐level approach (where a pro...
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COVID-19 mitigation strategies have largely relied on persuading populations to adopt behavioural changes, so it is critical to understand how such persuasive efforts can be made more effective. The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of persuasion allows for the integration of a variety of seemingly disparate effects into one overarching framework....
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Background: The Problematic Pornography Use Scale (PPUS) was originally designed to help predicting pornography consumption. Despite the frequency with which this scale is used in the scientific literature, there is still relatively little evidence regarding the predictive validity of this important instrument. This current research introduces a c...
Article
We report seven studies that introduce and validate two unique aspects of evaluation that supplement the original Need to Evaluate (NE) scale (Jarvis & Petty, 1996). Whereas the original scale focused on the tendency to have attitudes, the two new scales focus on the tendencies to learn and express attitudes. Although the new scales are correlated...
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This research examined the effect of perceived elaboration on the relationship between attitudes and prosocial behavior. Study 1 revealed that group fusion was more predictive of pro-group behavior (donation to in-group members) when perceived elaboration was high rather than low. In Study 2, attitudes toward helping were more likely to guide proso...
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The successful impact of healthy eating campaigns often depends on the extent to which messages are effective in changing attitudes and behaviors over time. The present work proposes that healthy eating campaigns can be designed taking into consideration elaboration and validation processes so that the degree of attitude change is maximally influen...
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Practitioners and researchers interested in designing wise interventions often recommend increasing personal involvement to be successful. Early research demonstrated that personal involvement increases elaboration leading to more persuasion for strong arguments, but to reduced persuasion if the arguments presented are specious. In most prior work,...
Article
To better understand the seemingly inconsistent influence of consumers' morality on their marketplace behaviors, we apply insights from research on attitude moralization to the consumer domain. That is, rather than predefining certain products as “moral,” this approach treats morality as the extent to which individual consumers metacognitively perc...
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People often form attitudes based on a mixture of positive and negative information. This can result in mixed evaluative reactions that are associated with feeling conflicted and undecided (i.e., felt ambivalence). In the present research, we examined whether expectations of receiving mixed information could dampen felt ambivalence compared to situ...
Article
The present research demonstrates for the first time that the very same emotion can influence information processing and persuasion depending on the appraisal of the emotion that is highlighted. Across studies, we predicted and found that anger, surprise, and awe can each lead to relatively higher or lower levels of information processing depending...
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Cleansing (separation) inductions reduce the impact of negative and positive reactions, whereas connection manipulations magnify them. We suggest that grounded procedures can produce these effects by affecting the perceived validity of thoughts. In accord with the self-validation theory, we also note the importance of considering how moderators, su...
Article
This research demonstrates that two- versus one-sided counterattitudinal messages can encourage people with a strong moral basis for their attitudes to be more open to contrary positions. Studies 1A/B demonstrated that the interaction between moral basis and message sidedness was present not just for a controversial issue with balanced views in soc...
Article
The current research demonstrates that posting online reviews can influence the evaluations of the individual posting the review. Across four studies, we examine the impact of individuals’ naive theories about the meaning of their own posting on subsequent attitudes. In these experiments, individuals were assigned to write either positive or negati...
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Identity fusion is a strong feeling of connectedness that is capable of predicting willingness to self‐sacrifice. The current research explores whether considering the extremity of the situation improves the ability of identity fusion to predict willingness to engage in life self‐sacrifice. Participants first reported their level of identity fusion...
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This research provides a novel analysis of the impact of hope and hopelessness on judgment, examining how they influence the use of judgment‐relevant thoughts. Hope and hopelessness are two ends of an emotional continuum for which the confidence and pleasantness appraisals are mismatched. That is, hope is appraised as a pleasant state that is assoc...
Article
One of the most reliable and impactful methods for enhancing a persuasive appeal is to match an aspect of the proposal (i.e., its content, source, or the setting in which it is delivered) to an aspect of the consumer receiving it. This personalized matching in persuasion (also called tailoring, targeting, customizing, or personalizing) comprises a...
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Some political attitudes and opinions shift and fluctuate over time whereas others remain fairly stable. Prior research on attitude strength has documented several features of attitudes that predict their temporal stability. The present analysis focuses on two of them: attitudinal ambivalence and certainty. Each of these variables has received mixe...
Article
It is well established that the physical attractiveness of the source of a message can influence recipients' attitudes about the message proposal. The current research is the first to examine if attractiveness is also capable of affecting attitude confidence and resistance to change. Experiment 1 revealed that an attractive source decreased recipie...
Article
The coronavirus pandemic has raised pressing questions about effective public health communication. Prior research has shown a persuasive advantage of arguments emphasizing a behavior’s benefits for others’ health compared to benefits for the recipients. We suggest that other-focused (vs. self-focused) messages function more as moral arguments and...
Preprint
The coronavirus pandemic has raised pressing questions about effective public health communication. Prior research has shown a persuasive advantage of arguments emphasizing a behavior’s benefits for others’ health, compared to benefits for the recipients. We suggest that other-focused (vs. self-focused) messages function more as moral arguments and...
Article
In recent years, psychology has wrestled with the broader implications of disappointing rates of replication of previously demonstrated effects. This article proposes that many aspects of this pattern of results can be understood within the classic framework of four proposed forms of validity: statistical conclusion validity, internal validity, con...
Article
The present research shows that preparedness increases reliance on thoughts irrelevant to the domain of preparation. In Study 1, participants wrote positive or negative thoughts about a tuition increase proposal. Next, participants were primed with words related to preparedness or positive control words and reported their evaluations of the initial...
Article
The certainty with which people hold their attitudes is an important consideration because attitudes held with certainty better predict judgment and behavior than attitudes held with doubt. However, little is known about whether people's assessments of their certainty reflect a disposition to hold attitudes with confidence. Adapting methods used to...
Article
Can people improve their lives by smiling more, trying to have a better posture, and by thinking about good memories? Can individuals become more successful by deliberatively engaging in positive actions and thoughts? Do people feel better by following recommendations from naïve psychology? In the present article we discuss these questions, noting...
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The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behaviour change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences can be used to help align human behaviour with the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts. Here...
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Discussions of the difference between biased and fake news were prevalent after the 2016 United States Presidential election. However, within social psychology, and especially the psychology of persuasion, perceptions of source bias have been largely overlooked or conflated with untrustworthiness. In the current work, we sought to demonstrate that...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive, global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behavior change and poses significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences are critical for optimizing pandemic response. Here we review relevant research from a diversity of research areas rel...
Article
This research finds evidence for reliable individual differences in people’s perceived attitude stability that predict the actual stability of their attitudes over time. Study 1 examines the reliability and factor structure of an 11-item Personal Attitude Stability Scale (PASS). Study 2 establishes test–retest reliability for the PASS over a 5-week...
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Attitudes toward hiring people with disabilities are becoming critical for promoting diversity and egalitarianism within organizations. The few interventions designed to promote positive attitudes toward people with disabilities have relied on changing either the direction and/or the amount of thoughts people generate with regard to this discrimina...
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We review work from persuasion science relevant to reducing prejudiced attitudes. We begin by introducing the idea that the thoughts people generate – their number and valence – are critical for understanding when responding to persuasive attempts will result in egalitarian attitudes. A focus on thinking highlights the importance of understanding s...
Article
Studies on bias correction have often used blatant inductions to motivate people to reduce the mental impact of perceived biases. In the current research, we test a relatively unexplored, subtle way of inducing bias correction based on the activation of different calculative mindsets. Across two studies, participants were exposed to an advertisemen...
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Identity fusion is a powerful feeling of connectedness to one’s group. The current research explores whether measuring certainty in identity fusion improves its ability to predict extreme pro-group outcomes. Across three studies, participants reported their level of identity fusion with their country and their certainty in responses to the scale (p...
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This research introduces a new approach for separating people from their thoughts by anticipating selling them to others. Participants were asked to write down either positive or negative thoughts about fast food on different pieces of paper. Then, participants were randomly assigned to role-play the part of either potential buyers or sellers for a...
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Previous work has reliably demonstrated that when people experience more subjective ambivalence about an attitude object, their attitudes have less impact on strength-related outcomes such as attitude-related thinking, judging, or behaving. However, previous research has not considered whether the amount of perceived knowledge a person has about th...
Article
When people perceive their thoughts and judgements as unduly affected by some biasing factor (in themselves or in the judgement setting), they often attempt to avoid or remove those biases. Theories describe different psychological mechanisms guiding these efforts. We review the primary theories of bias correction and focus on the use of naive theo...
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Anecdotally, attributions that others are biased pervade many domains. Yet, research examining the effects of perceptions of bias is sparse, possibly due to some prior researchers conflating bias with untrustworthiness. We sought to demonstrate that perceptions of bias and untrustworthiness are separable and have independent effects. The current wo...
Article
When crafting a message, communicators may turn to moral rhetoric as a means of influencing an audience’s opinion. In the present research, we tested whether the persuasiveness of explicitly moral counterattitudinal messages depends on how much people have already based their attitudes on moral considerations. A survey of the literature suggests se...
Chapter
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The history of attitudes research can be organized into three main sections covering attitude definition and measurement, attitude-behavior relationships, and attitude change. First, an evaluation of the history of attitude measurement reveals three relatively distinct phases: an early phase in which the classic direct self-report procedures were d...
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This article describes the basic mechanisms by which the nonverbal behavior of a communicator can influence recipients’ attitudes and persuasion. We review the literature on classic variables related to persuasive sources (e.g., physical attractiveness, credibility, and power), as well as research on mimicry and facial expressions of emotion, and b...
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Research on self-talk has found that what athletes say to themselves influences their performance in sport settings. This experiment analyzed the relationship between positive and negative self-talk and physical performance in light of another variable: overt head movements. Participants were randomly assigned to first generate and then listen to e...
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Research on aggression has benefitted from using individual‐difference measures to predict aggressive behavior. Research on meta‐cognition has recently identified that the predictive utility of individual‐difference inventories can be improved by considering the certainty with which people hold their self‐views. Merging these two frameworks, the pr...
Article
Placebo effects are the measurable psychological, biological, and behavioral changes that can result from expecting a treatment to be effective. Here we argue that not all expectations are created equally and there is much to learn by clarifying the psychological processes that underlie the expectations that cause placebo effects. It is proposed th...
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Although Zwaan et al. argue that original researchers should provide a replication recipe that provides great specificity about the operational details of one's study, I argue that it may be as important to provide a recipe that allows replicators to conduct a study that matches the original in as many conceptual details as possible (i.e., an exact...
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Three experiments examined whether perceiving thoughts as coming from internal versus external origins are more impactful on attitudes. Participants generated either positive or negative thoughts about different attitude objects, including different diets, and plastic surgery. Then, participants were induced to think that their thoughts came from t...
Article
Anger, disgust, surprise, and awe are multifaceted emotions. Both anger and disgust are associated with feeling unpleasant as well as experiencing a sense of confidence, whereas surprise and awe tend to be more pleasant emotions that are associated with doubt. Most prior work has examined how appraisals (confidence, pleasantness) lead people to exp...
Article
Disagreement exists as to the psychological processes underlying reports of evaluative judgments, with some theorists suggesting that attitudes can be retrieved and used to guide evaluative judgments, and others sug- gesting that such judgments are the result of construction, wherein evaluative judgments are constructed on the spot, and as needed....
Article
The attitudes and persuasion literature has extensively examined what makes a message influential, paying much less attention to what makes someone communicate that message in the first place (i.e., engage in attitudinal advocacy). In addressing this, the present research first makes a novel distinction regarding the type of advocacy (requested ver...
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Critics argue that audit research rarely impacts practice, in part due to challenges associated with synthesizing and interpreting research. We propose that using the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) as a meta-theoretical framework can help in understanding the collective findings within auditor judgment and decision-making (JDM) research. Our go...
Article
This research examines whether varying the number of words in which thoughts are expressed can influence subsequent evaluations. Across six studies, keeping the number of thoughts constant, we tested to what extent the length of the thoughts, the personal importance of the topic, and the extent of practice in short versus long thought expression in...
Chapter
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Placebo effects, or positive outcomes resulting from expectations about a treatment, are powerful components of modern medical care. In this chapter, we suggest that our understanding of placebo effects may benefit from more explicitly connecting this phenomenon to the existing empirical psychological literature on persuasion. Persuasion typically...
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We review research showing that the meaning of physical actions matters, that meaning can vary, and that the key element of meaning to affect judgments is the perceived validity of the thoughts. This article first describes studies on embodied persuasion for which changing the meaning of a behavior also changes the effect of that behavior on attitu...
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The present review focuses on how power-as a perception regarding the self, the source of the message, or the message itself-affects persuasion. Contemporary findings suggest that perceived power can increase or decrease persuasion depending on the circumstances and thus might result in both short-term and long-term consequences for behavior. Given...
Article
Recent work suggests that in addition to actual attitudes, people often have desired attitudes that can vary in their congruence with their actual attitudes. We explored whether desired attitudes motivate goal-congruent outcomes by impacting people's evaluative responses over the effects of actual attitudes. Across four studies, we demonstrated tha...
Article
Recent large-scale replication efforts have raised the question: how are we to interpret failures to replicate? Many have responded by pointing out conceptual or methodological discrepancies between the original and replication studies as potential explanations for divergent results as well as emphasizing the importance of contextual moderators. To...
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Many objectification phenomena can be understood from a mind-body dualism perspective in which the more people focus on their bodies, the less they focus on their minds. Instead of viewing mind and body in opposition to each other, we advocate for a more reciprocal view in which mind and body work in conjunction. Consistent with an integrated mind-...
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Persuasion, a prevalent form of social influence in humans, refers to an active attempt to change a person’s attitudes, beliefs, or behavior. There is a growing literature on the neural correlates of persuasion. As is often the case in an emerging literature, however, there are a number of questions, concerns, and alternative interpretations that c...
Article
Past research has shown that individuals low in prejudice think more carefully when information is from or about stigmatized individuals than non-stigmatized individuals. One explanation for this effect is that the heightened scrutiny stems from a motivation to guard against potential prejudice toward stigmatized others (i.e. “watchdog motivation”)...
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Past research has shown that exposure to aggression is associated with more negative responses toward others and also toward the self. In the present research, we argue that aggressive priming not only influences the content of thoughts (primary cognition) but also can influence how people think about their thoughts (secondary or meta-cognition) un...