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Memory distortion and attitude change-Two routes to cognitive balance


Berthold, Anne; Blank, Hartmut (2016). Memory distortion and attitude change-Two routes to cognitive balance. European Journal of Social Psychology, 46(2):198-208.

Abstract

We report novel research investigating memory distortion as an alternative route to cognitive balance, comparing it with attitude change as a well-known balancing mechanism. Participants received statements from multiple communicators about a controversial topic (national pride in Study 1 and climate protection in Study 2) and remembered these statements immediately or 1 week later. This resulted in initially balanced or unbalanced combinations of the liking for individual communicators and the communicators' statements and in subsequent balance increases due to liking change or misremembering of statements. The contribution of memory distortion to balance was significant but weaker and less efficient than that of liking change, and the contributions were empirically independent (i.e., uncorrelated and differentially related to third variables—specifically, memory strength and individual cognitive consistency motivation). They also had a different temporal trajectory (liking change fast and memory distortion slow). We discuss theoretical and practical implications.

Abstract

We report novel research investigating memory distortion as an alternative route to cognitive balance, comparing it with attitude change as a well-known balancing mechanism. Participants received statements from multiple communicators about a controversial topic (national pride in Study 1 and climate protection in Study 2) and remembered these statements immediately or 1 week later. This resulted in initially balanced or unbalanced combinations of the liking for individual communicators and the communicators' statements and in subsequent balance increases due to liking change or misremembering of statements. The contribution of memory distortion to balance was significant but weaker and less efficient than that of liking change, and the contributions were empirically independent (i.e., uncorrelated and differentially related to third variables—specifically, memory strength and individual cognitive consistency motivation). They also had a different temporal trajectory (liking change fast and memory distortion slow). We discuss theoretical and practical implications.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:2016
Deposited On:30 Nov 2015 14:52
Last Modified:25 May 2016 01:01
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0046-2772
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2137

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