Traditionally, heckling has been treated as merely a form of distraction. In this study, accentuation theory was used to predict differential effects of heckling on speaker credibility and attitude change depending on whether the audience identified with the heckler or the speaker. The results indicate that when the audience identifies with the heckler, speaker credibility and attitude change are attenuated. Furthermore, when the audience identifies with the speaker, speaker credibility and attitude change are increased. These findings support the accentuation formulation of heckling.
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