An experiment was conducted to examine the conditions under which self-esteem operates as an expectancy, as a resource, or does not influence cognitive dissonance processes. Based on the self-standards model of dissonance (Stone & Cooper, 2001), it was predicted that following a high-choice counter-attitudinal behavior: (a) priming positive self-attributes that were relevant to the discrepant behavior would cause participants with high self-esteem to report more attitude change as compared to participants with low self-esteem, (b) priming positive self-attributes that were irrelevant to the behavior would cause participants with high self-esteem to report less attitude change as compared to participants with low self-esteem, and (c) priming neutral self-attributes would eliminate self-esteem moderation of attitude change. The results of the attitude change measure supported the predictions. The discussion explores different processes by which the accessibility of cognitions about the self mediate dissonance arousal and reduction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- Attitude change
- Cognitive dissonance