Role of intention and postbehavioral consequence in the arousal of cognitive dissonance

George R. Goethals, Joel Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Conducted 2 experiments to test the importance of intention and aversive consequences in a counterattitudinal role-playing situation. In Exp. I, Ss (n = 92 male undergraduates) volunteered or were ordered to deliver a speech supporting a position with which they were known to disagree. 1/2 of the Ss intended to convince a fellow student to believe in the position being advocated. The other 1/2 had no such intention. After delivering the speech, 1/2 of all the Ss learned that they had succeeded in convincing their colleague, while the other 1/2 learned they had been unsuccessful. It was found that, under choice conditions, Ss manifested opinion change only if they had brought about the aversive consequence of convincing their colleague. It was also found that opinion change occurred regardless of whether the Ss intended to bring about that aversive consequence. Exp. II, with 50 male undergraduate Ss added further support for the notion that dissonance-produced opinion change occurs when the consequences of an action are aversive whether or not those consequences are intended. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1972

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • intention & aversive consequences, arousal of cognitive dissonance


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