This article provides the first empirical test of the idea that discrepancy is not needed in order to arouse cognitive dissonance. Dissonance was aroused when Ss felt responsible for some aversive consequence, regardless of whether their behavior was consistent (writing a proattitudinal essay) or inconsistent (a counterattitudinal essay) with beliefs. The data demonstrate that in both situations, dissonance is aroused. This result, based on the dissonance motivation model of Cooper and Fazio (1984), strongly suggests that the motivational basis for dissonance is the felt responsibility for aversive consequences. The theoretical implications of this outlook are explored, including a discussion of the many ways that it expands the applicability of dissonance theory.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science