Prechoice awareness of relative deprivation as a determinant of cognitive dissonance

Joel Cooper, Jack W. Brehm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Two experiments were conducted to clarify whether negative information presented after a person has committed himself to a course of action is capable of creating cognitive dissonance. Subjects were exposed to high or low relative deprivation either before they chose to participate in a tedious task, after they chose to participate, or without the option not to participate. The results indicated that there was greater satisfaction about participation under high relative deprivation than under low, but only when subjects were aware of the relative deprivation prior to their choice to participate. Information presented after decision was not effective in arousing dissonance. The implications of the experiments for modified views of dissonance theory were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-581
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1971

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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