Faculty Publications

Title

Cultural evolution: Interpersonal influence, issue importance, and the development of shared attitudes in college residence Halls

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Attitude-change dynamics, Culture dynamics, Longitudinal research, Social influence, Social networks

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Volume

33

Issue

10

First Page

1327

Last Page

1339

Abstract

This article investigates cultural evolution in four college residence halls. Up to four attitude surveys were completed by 1,252 participants in a semester. Participants' attitudes became more similar to those living closest to them over time as a result of localized interpersonal influence processes. Correlations between attitudes also increased with time as these cultural attributes grew increasingly interdependent. These basic findings support the predictions of dynamic social impact theory. However, these effects were stronger for more important issues even when controlling for discussion. These findings are likely the result of (a) individual-level selective attention to personally important information, (b) greater attitude-behavior consistency for important issues, and/or (c) nonlinear attitude change processes for important issues as suggested by the catastrophe theory of attitudes. These results suggest that intrapsychic processes as well as interpersonal processes contribute to cultural evolution. © 2007 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

Original Publication Date

10-1-2007

DOI of published version

10.1177/0146167207303949

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