Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




In attempting to persuade people, it is still not clear whether information presented first (primacy) or information presented last (recency) is more influential. Miller and Campbell (1959) found a primacy effect when they utilized a one week delay prior to obtaining a measurement with their post-test. They also obtained a measure of retention and found that this did not account for the attitude change. They agreed with Hovland (1957) that acceptance factors might be affecting the final opinion change.

This study attempted to clarify the role played by retention and acceptance factors on primacy-recency effects. A one week delay was also incorporated into this experiment. The topic of communication was the University's Pass-Fail Grading System. The communications consisted of mimeographed pro and con statements. A Pass-Fail Attitude Scale was developed and used as both the pre-test and the post-test. The subjects took the pre-test, read the communications, and completed the post-test either immediately or after a one week delay. Measures of retention and acceptance were then obtained. Thus, the data consisted of mean scores on the Pass-Fail Attitude Scale and indexes of retention and acceptance.

Analysis of variance was used to assess the effects of the treatment conditions. The expected recency effect under immediate measurement was not found nor was there a primacy effect under the delayed measurement condition. Correlation coefficients were computed for the Indexes of Recall and Acceptance with the post-test scores. It was found that Recall correlated .09 with post-test scores whereas Acceptance correlated .46 with post-test scores.