Mark Pezzo, Ph.D Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences
Jamie McHale, Ph.D. Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences
Thomas Smith, Ph.D. Director, USF St. Petersburg Honors Program
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Research in the field of rumor belief and transmission has consistently noted a "validity effect" whereas when quantifiable exposure (e.g., repetition, length of time) to a rumor increases the perceived validity of the rumor is magnified. In the present study repetition, source credibility, and rumor valence are manipulated to test for effects on the willingness to act upon a rumor. Cacioppo and Petty's (1982) Need for Cognition (NFC), Litman and Pezza's (2005) Attitudes towards Gossip- Social Value (ATG-S), and Webster and K.ruglanski's (1994) Need for Closure (NFCL) personality scales are also measured and analyzed for predictive power of the dependent variable. Participants were given forty eight scenarios varying on rumor valence, repetition, and source credibility and rated their willingness to act upon the rumor. Repetition, source credibility, ATG-S scores, and NFC scores were all positively correlated with willingness to act upon a rumor. Further, Source Credibility and ATG-S were found to qualify the effect of repetition.
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Douthirt, Eric M., "The Effects of Repetition, Source Credibility, Valence, and Individual Differences on the Willingness to Act upon a Rumor" (2007). USFSP Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate). 34.