Arousal as a necessary condition for attitude change following induced compliance

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Abstract

In a 2 × 3 design, 63 university students were induced to write counterattitudinal essays under either high- or low-choice conditions. All Ss were led to believe that a pill, which they had just taken in the context of a separate experiment, was a placebo. In reality, Ss were given a pill that contained either 30 mg of phenobarbital (tranquilizer condition), 5 mg of amphetamine (amphetamine condition), or milk powder (placebo condition). In this last condition, the results yielded the usual dissonance effect: High choice produced more attitude change in the direction of the essay than low choice. When Ss were given a tranquilizer, this effect was virtually eliminated; when Ss were given amphetamine, attitude change increased under high choice and was exhibited for the 1st time under low choice. These results are consistent with the notion that attitude change is in the service of reducing arousal and with the idea that arousal from other sources can be misattributed to attitude-discrepant behavior. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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