in RIA Full Referenced Reports

1. Introduction
The study of attitudes and persuasion began as the central focus of social
psychology (Allport, 1935; Ross, 1908). However, after a considerable flourishing
of research and theory from the 1930s through the 1960s, interest in the topic
began to wane. Two factors were largely responsible for this. First, the utility of
the attitude construct itself was called into question as researchers wondered if
attitudes were capable of predicting behavior. Because of this concern, some
even concluded that it might be time to abandon the attitude concept (Abelson,
1972; Wicker, 1971). Second, so much conflicting research and theory had
developed that it had become clear that “after several decades of research, there
(were) few simple and direct empirical generalizations that (could) be made
concerning how to change attitudes” (Himmelfarb & Eagly, 1974, p. 594).
Reviewers of the attitudes literature during the early 1970s lamented this sorry
state of affairs (e.g., Fishbein & Ajzen, 1972). For example, Kiesler and Munson
(1975) concluded that “attitude change is not the thriving field it once was
and will be again”