Dissonance and humor: Evidence for the undifferentiated nature of dissonance arousal

Joel Cooper, Russell H. Fazio, Frederick Rhodewalt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


33 undergraduates were committed to performing a counterattitudinal behavior under conditions of high or low choice. Thereafter, the order of presentation of two potential sources of arousal was manipulated. Some Ss first watched and rated a cartoon and then completed a posttreatment attitude measure. Other Ss first completed the attitude measure and then viewed the cartoon. It was thought that the presentation of the attitude measure first would lead Ss to attribute any arousal they might be experiencing to their counterattitudinal behavior and hence to change their attitudes. Analogously, presentation of the cartoon first was predicted to foster an interpretation of any arousal as a humorous reaction to the cartoon. The attitude and humor ratings of high-choice Ss were more affected by the order manipulation than the ratings of low-choice Ss. It is suggested that the arousal created by an induced compliance manipulation may be a general and undifferentiated state that can be attributed to any plausible source. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-285
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1978

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • humor ratings, college students
  • performance of counterattitudinal behavior under high vs low choice conditions &
  • subsequent manipulation of presentation order of potential arousal sources, attitudes &


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