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Psychol Sci. 2019 Mar;30(3):424-435. doi: 10.1177/0956797618822697. Epub 2019 Jan 29.

Perspective Taking and Self-Persuasion: Why "Putting Yourself in Their Shoes" Reduces Openness to Attitude Change.

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1 Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
2 Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management.


Counterattitudinal-argument generation is a powerful tool for opening people up to alternative views. On the basis of decades of research, it should be especially effective when people adopt the perspective of individuals who hold alternative views. In the current research, however, we found the opposite: In three preregistered experiments (total N = 2,734), we found that taking the perspective of someone who endorses a counterattitudinal view lowers receptiveness to that view and reduces attitude change following a counterattitudinal-argument-generation task. This ironic effect can be understood through value congruence: Individuals who take the opposition's perspective generate arguments that are incongruent with their own values, which diminishes receptiveness and attitude change. Thus, trying to "put yourself in their shoes" can ultimately undermine self-persuasion. Consistent with a value-congruence account, this backfire effect is attenuated when people take the perspective of someone who holds the counterattitudinal view yet has similar overall values.


attitude change; open data; open materials; perspective taking; persuasion; preregistered; receptiveness; resistance


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