Private and public self-attention, resistance to change, and dissonance reduction

Michael F. Scheier, Charles S. Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Three experiments with 257 undergraduates investigated the effects of self-directed attention on dissonance reduction. Ss were induced to write counterattitudinal essays. In Exp I, mirror presence during either an attitude premeasure or the counterattitudinal behavior led to reduced attitude change. Exp II explored whether the discrepancy between present and prior research was due to the manner in which self-attention was manipulated. Ss were exposed either to a mirror or to a TV camera and were asked to report both their post-behavioral attitudes and their perceptions of their counterattitudinal behavior. Consistent with the results of the 1st study, Ss in the mirror condition again showed the least amount of attitude change. They did, however, reduce dissonance by altering their perceptions of their behavior. Consistent with prior findings, Ss in the camera condition tended to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, but did not distort their behavior. Exp III conceptually replicated these results by selecting Ss on the basis of their chronic levels of private and public self-consciousness. (35 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-405
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1980
Externally publishedYes


  • dissonance reduction, college students
  • private vs public self attention, resistance to change &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Private and public self-attention, resistance to change, and dissonance reduction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this