Mistreatment of an esteemed other as a consequence affecting dissonance reduction

Joel Cooper, Mark P. Zanna, George R. Goethals

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26 Scopus citations


Recent research has shown that aversive behavioral consequences affect the magnitude of dissonance reduction. The present experiment was conducted to help clarify the meaning of an aversive consequence. In previous research, an aversive event was manipulated by having a subject believe that a counterattitudinal speech he had delivered was successful in convincing one of the subject's colleagues. In the present study, it was argued that convincing a colleague is aversive only to the extent that the colleague is liked. This reasoning was tested in a 2 × 2 factorial experiment in which subjects delivered a counterattitudinal speech to a recipient whom either was or was not liked by the subject and either was or was not convinced by the subject's speech. It was predicted and found that the subject would evidence attitude change only in the condition in which the speech led to the aversive event of successfully convincing an esteemed other. The results were discussed in terms of refining the relationship between attitude discrepant behavior and attitude change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-233
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1974

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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