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We examined the effects of temporarily accessible causal uncertainty and causal importance on persuasion. Participants completed a scrambled sentence priming task, read strong or weak, causal or noncausal arguments, and then reported their attitudes. We found that participants primed with high levels of causal uncertainty and importance thought carefully about the causal arguments. They were more persuaded by the strong compared to weak causal arguments, and this effect was partially mediated by the favorability of their message-relevant thoughts. Participants primed with high causal uncertainty and low causal importance were more persuaded by strong compared to weak noncausal arguments, but this effect was not mediated by thoughts. We discuss the implications of these findings for the causal uncertainty and persuasion literatures.

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Journal Article

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