Attribution, dissonance, and the illusion of uniqueness

Joel Cooper, Edward E. Jones, S. Mark Tuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Kelley (1967) has suggested that the tendency toward greater attitude change with lower incentives in a "forced compliance" paradigm may be explained without reference to the motivational process of dissonance arousal and reduction. According to his "attributional" formulation, subjects who comply for low incentives assume (incorrectly) that they are unique in complying and infer, therefore, that the compliant behavior is actually consonant with their true attitude. This plausible interpretation was tested in a design that independently varied (a) levels of incentive for preparing a counterattitudinal essay and (b) information about compliance rates of previous subjects. The main result was that incentive level had the usual inverse effect on attitude change, but alleged differential compliance rates had no effect on attitude. The "illusion of uniqueness" hypothesis was clearly not supported whereas the inverse incentive effect was once again demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1972

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Attribution, dissonance, and the illusion of uniqueness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this