The theory aims at so-called truisms, i.e. socially recognized attitudes. McGuire assumes that attitudes towards such truisms can be changed particularly easily, since one is neither motivated nor trained to defend them due to their general acceptance.
Truisms can be made resistant in two ways:
- Support : Providing supporting arguments
- Cognitive vaccination : Providing counter-arguments that are immediately refuted
According to McGuire, the supporting arguments are more easily forgotten again, but the counter-arguments are retained longer with their refutation.