Fink Publishes Study of Belief Dynamics

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Professor Edward L. Fink, with UM Ph.D. graduate Sungeun Chung have authored a study entitled "The Cognitive Dynamics of Beliefs: The Effect of Information on Message Processing." The essay appears in the July 2008 issue ofHuman Communication Research.


Their study investigated the time course of belief change from univalent versus mixed-valence messages, both while the message was being received and after receipt while it was being considered. Hypotheses about the temporal patterns of belief change were tested with belief trajectories from S. E. McGreevy (1996), valid N= 78, with an average number of time points per person = 5,267 (126.41 seconds) for the message-receipt phase and 2,467 (59.22 seconds) for the postmessage phase. Results showed that while receiving a message, beliefs changed according to the value and the order of presentation of information in the message. A greater number of positive belief changes were generated in response to a positive univalent message than to a mixed-valence message. In the postmessage phase, a greater oscillatory pattern of belief change was found for a mixed-valence message than for a univalent message. Theoretical and methodological implications of these findings are discussed.

HCRCitation: Sungeun Chung & Edward L. Fink, "The Cognitive Dynamics of Beliefs: The Effect of Information on Message Processing," Human Communication Research 34 (2008): 477-504.

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