Modern Psychological Studies
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
A study was conducted to assess the volatility of college students' reasoning about abortion. It is widely believed that individuals' views on this controversial issue have crystallized and are resistant to persuasion. The study investigated the persuasive impact of an opposing argument on subjects' current beliefs on the abortion issue. Thirty-three unpaid students of either gender at a private liberal arts college were shown a one-sided video on abortion presenting either the pro-life argument or the pro-choice argument. Subjects were Christians of various denominations. Abortion attitude was measured before and after the video using the Reasoning About Abortion Questionnaire (Parson, Richards, and Kanter, 1990). A gain/loss score was calculated for each subject to represent the degree and direction of attitude change. The results suggested that the videos had greater impact on liberal Christians (Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians) than on conservative Christians (Baptists or Catholics). A positive gain-score for the pro-choice video group (M = +8.09) and a negative gain-score for the pro-life video group (M = -15.13) suggested that each video helped to shift the viewers' reasoning in the direction it advocated. Each video had persuasive impact on viewers but the persuasion was asymmetrical. A significant (video x test) interaction, F (1, 31) = 59.523, p < .001 was obtained. It was concluded that college students' reasoning on abortion is less rigid than has been previously suggested, and that students respond to persuasive appeals.
BF1 .M63 v. 2 no. 2 1994
Dodd, Suzanne M.; Sims, Andrea Bailey; and Buggie, Stephen E.
"Persuasive impact of one-sided videos on reasoning about abortion,"
Modern Psychological Studies: Vol. 2
, Article 6.
Available at: http://scholar.utc.edu/mps/vol2/iss2/6