Ambivalence of attitudes towards people with whom the contact is closed or continued
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Attitudes towards other people were compared in two situations: when a direct, everyday contact with the others continues, and after the contact has been closed. Study 1 (N=97 students) showed that in the first, 'contact' situation the attitude is much more ambivalent than in the other, 'no contact' situation. Study 2 (N=105 secondary school students) replicated the result and additionally demonstrated that the interaction of liking and esteem was a powerful antecedent of ambivalence. Study 3 (N=115 students) apart from replicating the results of the two previous studies also showed that there is a significant relationship between the decrease of the level of ambivalence and increase of the overall attitude extremity when the contact is closed. Study 4 (N=116 students) additionally demonstrated the role of negative information about others both for ambivalence and overall attitude towards them. AUTHORS' NOTE: (1) As ambivalence has eventually been recognised as a property of attitudes (e.g., Bargh, Chaiken, Govender, & Pratto, 1992; Bassili, 1996; Cacioppo, Gardner, & Bernston, 1997; Priester & Petty, 1996; Thompson, Zanna, & Griffin, 1995). (2) Our research was carried out in groups of students (with their ex- and current teachers as the attitude objects) as the contact with teachers is usually limited to classes so there should be a clear-cut transition between the two different stages, i.e. with and without regular contact.
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