Witnessing an ingroup member acting against his or her belief can lead individuals who identify with that group to change their own attitude in the direction of that counterattitudinal behavior. Two studies demonstrate this vicarious dissonance effect among high ingroup identifiers and show that this attitude change is not attributable to conformity to a perceived change in speaker attitude. Study 1 shows that the effect occurs - indeed, is stronger - even when it is clear that the speaker disagrees with the position espoused, and Study 2 shows that foreseeable aversive consequences bring about attitude change in the observer without any parallel impact on the perceived attitude of the speaker. Furthermore, the assumption that vicarious dissonance is at heart a group phenomenon is supported by the results indicating that attitude change is not impacted either by individual differences in dispositional empathy or measures of interpersonal affinity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Cognitive dissonance
- Vicarious processes