According to the cognitive perspective, the generation of counterarguments is a key obstacle to persuasion. Following the metacognitive view, however, the experience of difficulty that accompanies increased counterarguing may benefit persuasion. These two contrasting predictions were evaluated in two experiments (N1 = 392; N2 = 210) by manipulating the instructions of thought-listing tasks following exposure to a testimonial that advocated for Physician-Assisted Suicide. Results for participants low-in-NfC supported the cognitive prediction, whereby generating many counterarguments (7) led to less favorable attitudes toward PAS, whereas fewer counterarguments (2) engendered more positive attitudes. In contrast, among participants high in NfC, increased counterarguing (7) resulted in more favorable attitudes toward PAS, while fewer counterarguments (2) were translated into greater opposition.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and the Department of Communication at the University of Haifa, Israel. The authors would like to thank David Ben-Chetrit, the coder who helped make this project possible. In addition, they would like to thank Tamara Afifi and four anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and guidance throughout the review process.
This research was supported by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and the Department of Communication at the University of Haifa, Israel.
© 2019, © 2019 National Communication Association.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics