Who Said That? Investigating the Plausibility-Induced Source Focusing Assumption with Norwegian Undergraduate Readers

Abstract
The present study investigated to what extent encountering a textual claim that contradicts one’s prior beliefs may increase readers’ memory for the source of the information, such as the author or publication. A sample of 71 Norwegian economics and administration undergraduates were presented with texts on cell phones and potential health risks that either concluded that cell phones involve serious health risks or that they are perfectly safe. Results showed that readers’ memory for source feature information increased when the conclusion of the text contradicted the belief that cell phone use poses serious health risks but not when it contradicted the belief that cell phone use does not involve such risks. This is partly consistent with the Plausibility-Induced Source Focusing assumption recently proposed by de Pereyra, Britt, Braasch, and Rouet (2014), suggesting that when readers judge content information to be implausible in light of their prior beliefs on the topic, they may be more likely to seek support from available information about the source to make sense of the content.

 

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