Yea-saying

Date of publication: June 15, 1976

Abstract:

This paper takes a careful look at the phenomenon of 'yea- saying' , defined as "the tendency of respondents to express agreement with a statement irrespective of the attitude expressed by that statement". Most experienced researchers would probably admit to a belief in the existence of such a tendency, but the literature reveals little in the way of hard evidence. Part of the reason for this is undoubtedly tied up with the fact that people's responses to attitude statements may be influenced by a large number of factors. After reviewing the literature available on factors influencing attitude response, the authors describe an experiment designed to assess the effect of just two factors - including an explicit negative in the statement and personalisation ('I' or 'me') of the statement. Four versions (positive, negative, positive personalised, negative personalised) of each of three attitude statements were administered to matched samples of almost 1,000 adults in Great Britain in October 1975. The results provide strong evidence for the existence of yea- saying.

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