Role of foreseen, foreseeable, and unforeseeable behavioral consequences in the arousal of cognitive dissonance

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Abstract

60 undergraduates delivered a counterattitudinal speech supporting an unwanted policy. Two groups were given information about the consequences of making the speech before agreeing to make it and one was explicitly informed of the possibility of an unwanted consequence occurring. The 2nd group was given a general description of the consequences to make the specific unwanted consequence retrospectively foreseeable if made known later. A 3rd group was told nothing about the consequences of making the speech at the time of the decision to make it. After the speech was delivered, half of the Ss in each group were informed of a specific unwanted consequence of their act and half were given no further information. As predicted, self-justificatory attitude change was found only in the 2 conditions in which Ss were informed prior to making the speech of the specific unwanted consequence and in the condition in which Ss were given a general description of the consequences beforehand and specific information about the unwanted consequence after the speech. Results are discussed in terms of the relation of personal responsibility to cognitive dissonance arousal. (10 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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