USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)

First Advisor

Mark Pezzo, Ph.D Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences

Second Advisor

Jamie McHale, Ph.D. Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences

Third Advisor

Thomas Smith, Ph.D. Director, USF St. Petersburg Honors Program


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Date Available

April 2012

Publication Date


Date Issued

May 2007


Research in the field of rumor belief and transmission has consistently noted a "validity effect" whereas when quantifiable exposure (e.g., repetition, length of time) to a rumor increases the perceived validity of the rumor is magnified. In the present study repetition, source credibility, and rumor valence are manipulated to test for effects on the willingness to act upon a rumor. Cacioppo and Petty's (1982) Need for Cognition (NFC), Litman and Pezza's (2005) Attitudes towards Gossip- Social Value (ATG-S), and Webster and K.ruglanski's (1994) Need for Closure (NFCL) personality scales are also measured and analyzed for predictive power of the dependent variable. Participants were given forty eight scenarios varying on rumor valence, repetition, and source credibility and rated their willingness to act upon the rumor. Repetition, source credibility, ATG-S scores, and NFC scores were all positively correlated with willingness to act upon a rumor. Further, Source Credibility and ATG-S were found to qualify the effect of repetition.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program, University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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