Fostering COVID-19 Safe Behaviors Using Cognitive Dissonance

Logan Pearce, Joel Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


There is an urgent need to persuade the public to follow behavioral guidelines in order to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Using cognitive dissonance as a guide, the current study’s aim was to increase compliance with coronavirus safety measures, such as social distancing, wearing masks, and getting vaccinated. In Phase 1, participants experienced dissonance by advocating consistent adherence to safety protocols and recalling instances when they did not follow them. Their attitudes and behavioral intentions were measured. A week later, we assessed reported behavior. We found that dissonance participants complied more with guidelines and were more likely to seek vaccination than participants in three non-dissonance control conditions. We conclude by recommending ways of implementing the findings in the current COVID-19 crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-282
Number of pages16
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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