Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The primary thesis of this research is that values can causally influence attitudes, and that one mechanism of that influence involves value accessibility, or the ease with which values can be accessed from memory. Three studies are reported that address questions concerning the nature of value accessibility and its role in the value-attitude relationship.;A significant positive relationship was found to exist between the importance people ascribe to various values and the speed with which they can indicate the perceived importance of these values. This was interpreted to mean that response latencies constitute a valid measure of value accessibility.;It was further shown that the differential accessibility of two competing values (i.e., values that would be expected to represent opposing points of view on an issue) could predict people's attitudes on a related ethical issue. Whereas the traditional view of the influence of values on attitudes suggests a relatively deliberative process of comparing the relative importance of values, the present results suggest that decisions may be influenced by a less deliberative cognitive process involving the relative accessibility of values.;When the accessibility of a value was increased by means of a priming manipulation, it was found that the importance of that value was a better predictor of attitudes than was the importance of a competing value, suggesting that manipulation-induced accessibility can influence value-attitude consistency. Because the nature of the relation between attitudes and manipulation-induced value accessibility was different from that associated with chronic accessibility, I discuss the need to distinguish between different sources of accessibility.;The implications of these findings for a better understanding of the causal nature of the value-attitude relationship are discussed. It is tentatively concluded that when there are two competing values associated with an issue, one's attitude is likely to be consistent with the value that comes to mind most readily. When a value is made more accessible by means of priming, the importance of that value becomes salient, and therefore predicts the attitude better than if the value is not made accessible.



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