Maintenance and decay of past behavior influences: Anchoring attitudes on beliefs following inconsistent actions

Dolores Albarracín, Penny S. McNatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Three studies investigated the influence of past behavior on the stability of the attitudes it elicits. In Experiment 1, the effect of a bogus behavior feedback was long lasting when people engaged in biased scanning, presumably because this process elicits behavior-consistent beliefs. In contrast, the effect of the feedback decayed when participants were forced to consider whether the behavior might have undesirable outcomes. A second experiment using a different behavioral paradigm and a field study further supported the interpretation that individuals resolve conflict between a past behavior and subsequent beliefs about it by aligning attitudes with beliefs instead of behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-733
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2005

Keywords

  • Attitude toward the behavior
  • Behavior outcomes
  • Past behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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