Values and Attitude Change
The amount of time it takes for an attitude to be expressed (i.e., accessibility) is one of the most basic structural properties of an attitude and an important factor to consider in attitude strength (e.g., attitude extremity). Despite its importance, relatively little work has examined the role of accessibility in an inter-attitudinal context, particularly as it relates to the strength of related attitudes in the network. The present research examined the role of accessibility of an individual’s political ideology (i.e., beliefs about how liberal or conservative one is) may polarize an attitude associated with their political ideology (i.e., gun control laws). The study utilized a repeated expression paradigm to manipulate accessibility of one’s ideology, such that participants expressed their political ideology either once (the single expression condition) or eight times (the repeated expression condition). Participants then reported their attitudes toward gun control laws prior and after writing their thoughts about their attitude. As expected, participants in the repeated expression condition a) had more polarized attitudes toward gun control laws and b) reported that their thoughts reflected their political ideology more than in the single expression condition. Implications for the role of accessibility in inter-attitudinal strength are discussed.