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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1978 Oct;36(10):1101-6.

Arousal as a necessary condition for attitude change following induced compliance.


This study examined whether arousal is or is not a necessary condition for attitude change in the induced compliance paradigm. In a 2 times 3 design, experimental subjects were induced to write counterattitudinal essays under either high- or low-choice conditions. All subjects were led to believe that a pill, which they had just taken in the context of a separate experiment, was a placebo. In reality, subjects were given a pill that contained either phenobarbital (tranquilizer condition), amphetamine (amphetamine condition), or milk powder (placebo condition). In this last condition, the results yielded the usual dissonance effect: High choice produced more attitude change in the direction of the essay than low choice. When subjects were given a tranquilizer, this effect was virtually eliminated; when subjects were given amphetamine, attitude change increased under high choice and was exhibited for the first time under low choice. These results are consistent with the notion that attitude change is in the service of reducing arousal and with the idea that arousal from other sources can be misattributed to attitude-discrepant behavior.

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