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Rationality and Context: Antidotes for Anthrax Anecdotes
Unformatted Document Text:  12 REI formed a reliable scale ( α = .84; M = 71.25, SD = 9.62), as did the 20 experientiality items ( α = .88; M = 70.07, SD = 9.93). These two scales were not significantly correlated (r = .14), thus providing additional evidence for their orthogonality. Hypothesis Tests An initial one-sample t-test contrasting the theoretical mid-point of the news item apprehension scale (24.00) with the mean for all participants (M = 28.58, SD = 5.36) revealed that the average amount of apprehension expressed in response to the anthrax story was significantly greater than the scale mid-point, t(84) = 7.82, p < .0001, two- tailed 1 . To test the predicted crossover interaction between rationality and the story conditions on apprehension, a 2 X 2 ANOVA was computed employing a median split of rationality and the two story conditions as independent variables. The means and standard deviations for apprehension are displayed in Table 1. Although the ANOVA yielded no INSERT TABLE 1 ABOUT HERE significant main effects, the interaction effect was significant, F(1,81) = 4.52, p < .04, 2 = .05. Follow-up t-tests were computed to decompose the significant interaction (Winer, 1971). These tests revealed that among those scoring high in rationality, individuals who read both the anthrax story and the traffic deaths story reported significantly less apprehension than those who read only the anthrax story, t(81) = 2.30, p < .03, one-tailed. By contrast, among low rationality scorers this pattern was reversed. Those who read both stories manifested significantly higher apprehension levels than those who read only the anthrax story, t(81) = 2.01, p < .03, one-tailed. This was the interaction pattern anticipated by the first hypothesis.

Authors: Berger, Charles., Johnson, Joel. and Lee, Eun-Ju.
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12
REI formed a reliable scale (
α
= .84; M = 71.25, SD = 9.62), as did the 20 experientiality
items (
α
= .88; M = 70.07, SD = 9.93). These two scales were not significantly correlated
(r = .14), thus providing additional evidence for their orthogonality.
Hypothesis Tests
An initial one-sample t-test contrasting the theoretical mid-point of the news item
apprehension scale (24.00) with the mean for all participants (M = 28.58, SD = 5.36)
revealed that the average amount of apprehension expressed in response to the anthrax
story was significantly greater than the scale mid-point, t(84) = 7.82, p < .0001, two-
tailed
1
. To test the predicted crossover interaction between rationality and the story
conditions on apprehension, a 2 X 2 ANOVA was computed employing a median split of
rationality and the two story conditions as independent variables. The means and standard
deviations for apprehension are displayed in Table 1. Although the ANOVA yielded no
INSERT TABLE 1 ABOUT HERE
significant main effects, the interaction effect was significant, F(1,81) = 4.52, p < .04,
2
= .05. Follow-up t-tests were computed to decompose the significant interaction
(Winer, 1971). These tests revealed that among those scoring high in rationality,
individuals who read both the anthrax story and the traffic deaths story reported
significantly less apprehension than those who read only the anthrax story, t(81) = 2.30, p
< .03, one-tailed. By contrast, among low rationality scorers this pattern was reversed.
Those who read both stories manifested significantly higher apprehension levels than
those who read only the anthrax story, t(81) = 2.01, p < .03, one-tailed. This was the
interaction pattern anticipated by the first hypothesis.


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