Forced compliance, misattribution and trivialization

Robert-Vincent Joule1, Marie-Amelie Martinie2
1University of Provence, France
2University of Poitiers, France
Cite this article:  Joule, R., & Martinie, M. (2008). Forced compliance, misattribution and trivialization. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 36, 1205-1212.

Volume 36 Issue 9 | e1787 | Published: October 2008 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2008.36.9.1205

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Simon, Greenberg, and Brehm (1995) found evidence of a new mode of dissonance reduction: trivialization. The purpose of this study was to show that trivialization can be used in misattribution situations to reduce dissonance after the execution of a counterattitudinal behavior. In the experiment reported here (2 x 2 design), participants had to write down arguments in favor of selective admission to the university. This task was carried out in high choice condition. Half of the participants were confronted with a source of misattribution (ultrasound waves) and half were not. Afterwards, the participants’ attitudes toward the issue and their extent of trivialization were measured. The collection order of these two measures was manipulated. As expected, with a source of misattribution, participants did not change their attitude, but trivialized. In addition, trivialization and attitude change were found to be alternative dissonance-reduction modes: when participants trivialized they did not change their attitude, and inversely, when they changed their attitude they did not trivialize.
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