Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Sinclair, H. Colleen

Committee Member

Giesen, J. Martin

Committee Member

McMillen, Robert

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


The current study employed the self-validation hypothesis (Petty, Brinol, & Tormala, 2002) to test how thought confidence affects individuals’ responses to social norms regarding gay rights. After measuring their gay rights attitudes and thought confidence, participants took part in a discussion where they faced groups that either opposed their position on gay rights unanimously or non-unanimously (i.e., 4 opposing confederates vs. 3 opposing confederates and one supporting confederate). Those who were anti-gay rights conformed more than those pro, particularly when facing unanimous opposition. Thought confidence reduced the effects of normative pressure on conformity, but only in those who were anti-gay rights. Attitude change was reduced for anti-gay rights people with high thought confidence, but only when a supporting confederate was present. These results suggest that thought confidence affects resistance to social norms in people who are anti-gay rights whereas pro-gay rights people resist regardless of their level of thought confidence.