Dissonance Reduction in the Context of Group Membership: The Role of Metaconsistency

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Abstract

Recent work has established that groups can reduce dissonance by providing consonant cognitions, normative support, or an opportunity to diffuse responsibility for counterattitudinal behavior. Adopting a social identity framework, the current research comprised 2 studies examining metaconsistency, which was proposed to underlie these disparate explanations for the effect of social support. In Study 1 (N = 121), participants performed a counterattitudinal behavior with or without attitude and behavior support. As expected, congruence between the participants' attitude-behavior consistency and another's attitude-behavior consistency reduced attitude change. Study 2 (N = 69) replicated the results of Study 1; in addition, metaconsistency influenced participants' perceptions of their own attitude-behavior consistency. The implications of metaconsistency for other contemporary perspectives of dissonance theory are discussed.

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