Personal responsibility and dissonance: The role of foreseen consequences

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59 Scopus citations


Tested the proposition that personal responsibility is a necessary condition for the arousal of cognitive dissonance. A person was considered to feel personally responsible for his behavior if he voluntarily chose to act in a discrepant way and was able to foresee the consequences of his choice. 124 female undergraduates either chose or were ordered to work with a partner who, for the purpose of their interaction, had negative characteristics. The partner's negative characteristics either were or were not foreseeable prior to S's decision to work with her. It was predicted that Ss whose partners were freely chosen and whose negative traits were known beforehand would experience dissonance. Such Ss were expected to reduce their dissonance by liking their partners more as the degree of their partners' undesirable trait increased. All other Ss were expected to show an inverse relationship between their liking for their partners and the degree of their partners' negative trait. Results generally support the predictions. (20 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-363
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1971

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • cognitive dissonance, personal responsibility in choice of partner with negative trait


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