forced compliance

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Yielding to social pressure to make a statement or behave in a way that conflicts with one's attitudes, as when an experimenter induces a research participant to tell a lie to another research participant. According to the theory of cognitive dissonance, such behaviour tends to result in an attitude change to reduce the dissonance between the two cognitions My attitude is X and My statement (or behaviour) was anti-X. The second cognition is behaviourally anchored and cannot easily be changed once the statement has been made or the action performed, but the first cognition can and often does change. The theory predicts, and experimental research confirms, that the attitude change tends to be greatest when the justification for the counterattitudinal behaviour is least—for example, when the person was offered a small rather than a large financial incentive for it.

Subjects: Psychology.

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