Is dissonance reduction a special case of fluid compensation?

Evidence that dissonant cognitions cause compensatory affirmation and abstraction

Daniel Randles, Michael Inzlicht, Travis Proulx, Alexa M. Tullett, Steven J. Heine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Cognitive dissonance theory shares much in common with other perspectives that address anomalies, uncertainty, and general expectancy violations. This has led some theorists to argue that these theories represent overlapping psychological processes. If responding to dissonance and uncertainty occurs through a common psychological process, one should expect that the behavioral outcomes of feeling uncertain would also apply to feelings of dissonance, and vice versa. One specific prediction from the meaning maintenance model would be that cognitive dissonance, like other expectancy violations, should lead to the affirmation of unrelated beliefs, or the abstraction of unrelated schemas when the dissonant event cannot be easily accommodated. This article presents 4 studies (N = 1124) demonstrating that the classic induced-compliance dissonance paradigm can lead not only to a change of attitudes (dissonance reduction), but also to (a) an increased reported belief in God (Study 2), (b) a desire to punish norm-violators (Study 1 and 3), (c) a motivation to detect patterns amid noise (Study 3), and (d) polarizing support of public policies among those already biased toward a particular side (Study 4). These results are congruent with theories that propose content-general fluid compensation following the experience of anomaly, a finding not predicted by dissonance theory. The results suggest that dissonance reduction behaviors may share psychological processes described by other theories addressing violations of expectations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-710
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume108
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • dissonance
  • meaning
  • fluid compensation
  • affirmation

Cite this

Randles, Daniel ; Inzlicht, Michael ; Proulx, Travis ; Tullett, Alexa M. ; Heine, Steven J. / Is dissonance reduction a special case of fluid compensation? Evidence that dissonant cognitions cause compensatory affirmation and abstraction. In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2015 ; Vol. 108, No. 5. pp. 697-710.
@article{b46044dd44674fb0b8dfbf60e1ff4922,
title = "Is dissonance reduction a special case of fluid compensation?: Evidence that dissonant cognitions cause compensatory affirmation and abstraction",
abstract = "Cognitive dissonance theory shares much in common with other perspectives that address anomalies, uncertainty, and general expectancy violations. This has led some theorists to argue that these theories represent overlapping psychological processes. If responding to dissonance and uncertainty occurs through a common psychological process, one should expect that the behavioral outcomes of feeling uncertain would also apply to feelings of dissonance, and vice versa. One specific prediction from the meaning maintenance model would be that cognitive dissonance, like other expectancy violations, should lead to the affirmation of unrelated beliefs, or the abstraction of unrelated schemas when the dissonant event cannot be easily accommodated. This article presents 4 studies (N = 1124) demonstrating that the classic induced-compliance dissonance paradigm can lead not only to a change of attitudes (dissonance reduction), but also to (a) an increased reported belief in God (Study 2), (b) a desire to punish norm-violators (Study 1 and 3), (c) a motivation to detect patterns amid noise (Study 3), and (d) polarizing support of public policies among those already biased toward a particular side (Study 4). These results are congruent with theories that propose content-general fluid compensation following the experience of anomaly, a finding not predicted by dissonance theory. The results suggest that dissonance reduction behaviors may share psychological processes described by other theories addressing violations of expectations.",
keywords = "dissonance, meaning, fluid compensation, affirmation",
author = "Daniel Randles and Michael Inzlicht and Travis Proulx and Tullett, {Alexa M.} and Heine, {Steven J.}",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1037/a0038933",
language = "English",
volume = "108",
pages = "697--710",
journal = "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology",
issn = "0022-3514",
publisher = "AMER PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOC",
number = "5",

}

Is dissonance reduction a special case of fluid compensation? Evidence that dissonant cognitions cause compensatory affirmation and abstraction. / Randles, Daniel; Inzlicht, Michael; Proulx, Travis; Tullett, Alexa M.; Heine, Steven J.

In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 108, No. 5, 2015, p. 697-710.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Is dissonance reduction a special case of fluid compensation?

T2 - Evidence that dissonant cognitions cause compensatory affirmation and abstraction

AU - Randles, Daniel

AU - Inzlicht, Michael

AU - Proulx, Travis

AU - Tullett, Alexa M.

AU - Heine, Steven J.

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Cognitive dissonance theory shares much in common with other perspectives that address anomalies, uncertainty, and general expectancy violations. This has led some theorists to argue that these theories represent overlapping psychological processes. If responding to dissonance and uncertainty occurs through a common psychological process, one should expect that the behavioral outcomes of feeling uncertain would also apply to feelings of dissonance, and vice versa. One specific prediction from the meaning maintenance model would be that cognitive dissonance, like other expectancy violations, should lead to the affirmation of unrelated beliefs, or the abstraction of unrelated schemas when the dissonant event cannot be easily accommodated. This article presents 4 studies (N = 1124) demonstrating that the classic induced-compliance dissonance paradigm can lead not only to a change of attitudes (dissonance reduction), but also to (a) an increased reported belief in God (Study 2), (b) a desire to punish norm-violators (Study 1 and 3), (c) a motivation to detect patterns amid noise (Study 3), and (d) polarizing support of public policies among those already biased toward a particular side (Study 4). These results are congruent with theories that propose content-general fluid compensation following the experience of anomaly, a finding not predicted by dissonance theory. The results suggest that dissonance reduction behaviors may share psychological processes described by other theories addressing violations of expectations.

AB - Cognitive dissonance theory shares much in common with other perspectives that address anomalies, uncertainty, and general expectancy violations. This has led some theorists to argue that these theories represent overlapping psychological processes. If responding to dissonance and uncertainty occurs through a common psychological process, one should expect that the behavioral outcomes of feeling uncertain would also apply to feelings of dissonance, and vice versa. One specific prediction from the meaning maintenance model would be that cognitive dissonance, like other expectancy violations, should lead to the affirmation of unrelated beliefs, or the abstraction of unrelated schemas when the dissonant event cannot be easily accommodated. This article presents 4 studies (N = 1124) demonstrating that the classic induced-compliance dissonance paradigm can lead not only to a change of attitudes (dissonance reduction), but also to (a) an increased reported belief in God (Study 2), (b) a desire to punish norm-violators (Study 1 and 3), (c) a motivation to detect patterns amid noise (Study 3), and (d) polarizing support of public policies among those already biased toward a particular side (Study 4). These results are congruent with theories that propose content-general fluid compensation following the experience of anomaly, a finding not predicted by dissonance theory. The results suggest that dissonance reduction behaviors may share psychological processes described by other theories addressing violations of expectations.

KW - dissonance

KW - meaning

KW - fluid compensation

KW - affirmation

U2 - 10.1037/a0038933

DO - 10.1037/a0038933

M3 - Article

VL - 108

SP - 697

EP - 710

JO - Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

JF - Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

SN - 0022-3514

IS - 5

ER -