How Much They Learned From the Experiment

The results on this question are shown in the second row of figures. The question was included because, as far as we could see, it had nothing to do with the dissonance that was experimentally created and could not be used for dissonance reduction. One would then expect no differences at all among the three conditions. We felt it was important to show that the effect was not a completely general one but was specific to the content of the dis- sonance which was created. As can be readily seen in Table 1, there are only negligible differ- ences among conditions. The highest t value for any of these differences is only 0.48.

We mentioned in the introduction that Janis and King (1954; 1956) in explaining their findings, proposed an explanation in terms of the self-convincing effect of mental rehearsal and thinking up new arguments by the person who had to improvise a speech. Kelman (1953), in the previously mentioned study, in at- tempting to explain the unexpected finding that the persons who complied in the moderate reward condition changed their opinion more than in the high reward condition, also pro- posed the same kind of explanation. If the results of our experiment are to be taken as strong corroboration of the theory of cogni- tive dissonance, this possible alternative explanation must be dealt with.

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