Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Towson, Shelagh,


Psychology, Experimental.




The present study examined epistemic style predispositions associated with individual differences in responsiveness to style-consistent and style-inconsistent persuasive communications. Two hundred and fifty-seven undergraduate students participated. In Session 1, subjects were given (a) a questionnaire measuring their attitudes toward two relevant issues, student access to course evaluations and equal automobile insurance rates for men and women in Ontario, (b) the Psycho-Epistemological Profile (PEP) to assess their characteristic epistemic styles (rational, empirical, or metaphorical), and (c) a brief demographic survey. In the second session, subjects in the experimental group (n = 200) read two counterattitudinal, persuasive editorials on the two issues assessed in Session 1. One form of each editorial contained empirical information supporting the message arguments, while the other presented the arguments using figurative language and metaphorical expressions. After reading each editorial, subjects completed a series of dependent measures indicating the degree to which they found the editorial involving and persuasive and listed the thoughts they had while reading the editorials. After reading both editorials subjects completed a posttest attitude questionnaire. Control group subjects (n = 57) received only the posttest attitude questionnaire in Session 2. It was predicted that subjects would rate the editorial whose style was consistent with their dominant epistemic style as more involving and more persuasive than the style-inconsistent editorials. It was also expected that subjects would generate more supportive than unsupportive thoughts and change their attitudes more in response to the style-consistent editorials. Preliminary analyses indicated that subjects preferred the empirical to metaphorical editorials and the editorials on auto insurance to course evaluations. Regression analyses revealed a significant metaphorical by editorial style interaction for the dependent variable measuring subjects' degree of involvement with the editorial. As predicted, high scores on the metaphorical scale were associated with high ratings of involvement for the metaphorical style editorials and low ratings for the empirical articles. No other significant interactions emerged. These findings were discussed in terms of affective versus cognitive responses to persuasive editorials within an information processing paradigm.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1990 .D383. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 52-11, Section: B, page: 6112. Adviser: Shelagh Towson. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1990.