Research Problem: To examine the impact of a previous attitude toward an issue (i.e. liquor-by- the- drink in the state of Texas) on the perception of messages concerning that issue. Hypothesis: An individual’s attitude toward an issue will determine his response to messages concerning that issue.
Method: The social judgement scale and the semantic differential were used in conjunction in this study. Through the use of the social judgement instrument, the attitude toward the issue was determined, and the semantic differential effected the attitude toward both “wet” and “dry” messages. The two instruments were compared to determine their relationship as attitude measuring techniques. Three groups were used as the sample in the study: Baptist preachers, a student group, and a group of restaurant owners.
Results: Predictably, the Baptist preachers favoured the “dry” message, the restaurant owners favoured the “wet” message, and the students were middle-of- the-road. However, the data revealed that neither the Baptist preachers nor the restaurant owners were intensely committed to their respective group’s owns position, a position sanctioned by group affiliation and imposed by group peer pressure. Thus, the issue of liquor-by- the-drink in the state of Texas was found to be relatively unimportant to those groups involved in the controversy.
Conclusion: The study supported the hypothesis that an individual’s attitude toward an issue will determine his response to messages concerning that issue.