o amnesics exhibit cognitive dissonance reduction?

Choice prints are the prints in the critical pairs

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Unformatted text preview: e (change in rank) in Experiment 2 Condition Pair Load No load 0.44 0.91 1.35 0.94 0.38 1.32 0.41 0.47 0.06 0.41 0.25 0.16 Choice prints Selected pair Rejected pair Spread (selected Selected pair Rejected pair Spread (selected rejected) Nonchoice prints rejected) Note. Choice prints are the prints in the critical pairs. Nonchoice prints are prints from the noncritical set that were ranked and reranked without an intervening choice; prints with the same ranks as those a participant selected and rejected in the critical set were designated as selected and rejected, respectively, in the noncritical set for comparison purposes. ward the automatic end of the automatic-controlled continuum (Bargh & Tota, 1988; Gilbert, 1989; Wegner, 1994). GENERAL DISCUSSION The current experiments provide strong evidence that behaviorinduced attitude change requires minimal ability to encode and retrieve new explicit memories and minimal ability to engage in consciously controlled processing. In fact, if one compares the performance of the amnesic patients in Experiment 1 and the no-load participants in Experiment 2, it appears that intact explicit memory may actually attenuate the magnitude of behavior-induced attitude change (cf. Snyder & Ebbesen, 1972). This hypothesis is bolstered by the negative correlations between degree of attitude change and explicit memory in Experiment 1. The possibility that behavior-induced attitude change can take place automatically and without conscious processing casts new light on the role of motivation in rationalization. People tend to look unfavorably on individuals who change their attitudes to justify their behaviors because these individuals should be able to see that they are “just rationalizing” and thus realize that their new attitudes are glaringly inauthentic. Our results suggest, however, that the behaviorinduced attitude-change process may not be consciously experienced. Because the results of automatic attitude processes are often experienced as given by the environment rather than constructed by the mind, what looks like disingenuous rationalization from without may feel genuine from within (Bargh, 1989). Automatically changed attitudes can be especially hardy inasmuch as their maintenance does not require the individual to remember the reason why the attitude was changed in the first place. In the fable that opened this article, it appears that the fox continued to believe the grapes were undesirable only because they continued to be unobtainable. The new attitude toward grapes seems to serve as the continuing justification for not ruminating over the loss. The results from Experiment 1, however, indicate that this teleological interpretation of attitude change may be unnecessary, because the amnesics did not remember that there was a prior conflict that they would prefer to keep avoiding. Not revisiting the conflict may be a by-product of the new attitude’s presence, but it is not the case that the new attitude is sustained because of a need to avoid the conflict. The curr...
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