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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of the effects of ego-involvement on the ability of students to present contrary view-points to an affectively charged topic Jillings, Charles Robertson

Abstract

What difficulties will a person encounter, and what defenses will he use, if placed in a position where he must verbally attack a group with which he has strongly identified himself? In an attempt to gain some insight into this problem, two groups of people were selected. One group was made up of fifteen male university students who had strongly ego-involved attitudes toward the Christian Church. The second group, the controls, consisted of fifteen male students who scored in the neutral zone of the Thurstone-Chave scale of Attitudes Toward the Church. Both groups found it more difficult to attack the church than to support it. Also, when attacking the church, both groups tended more to weaken their arguments by qualifications and by making concessions to the opposing view-point. In terms of group differences, the religious group were much more effective (convincing) in their arguments in favor of the church than were the neutrals. There was no significant difference, however, in their relative abilities to attack the church in a convincing manner. The religious group showed the greatest disparity in terms of ratings gained when supporting the church, minus ratings gained when attacking it. This difference in disparity scores was not statistically significant. Therefore, our principal hypothesis was not supported. Continuous G.S.R. records were made while the subjects were engaged in the two tasks. From the data obtained, we are unable to say that either of the two activities is more tension-producing for either group.

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