The interactive effect of initial position and theat to freedom on psychological reactance

Imajo, S.

The Japanese journal of psychology 66(6): 431-436


DOI: 10.4992/jjpsy.66.431
Accession: 068501705

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An experiment was conducted to examine which was crucial for the reactance effect on attitude change: discrepancy, initial position or prerequisite conditions for reactance arousal. Initial receiver attitudes were one of the five levels: moderate or extreme agreement (the least discrepancy), slight agreement, neutral, slight disagreement, and moderate or extreme disagreement (the most discrepancy), and threat to attitudinal freedom was manipulated. Prerequisite conditions for reactance arousal were also measured. Threat manipulation significantly reduced opinion change only among receivers at neutral or moderate/extreme disagreement position. In addition, examination of prerequisites showed that compliance in high threat condition was significantly less for receivers who had been uncertain about their own initial position and had perceived the issue important (freedom-of-choice group) and those who had perceived the attacked position as both possible and important (freedom-of-position group). Theoretical and practical significance of prerequisites for reactance arousal is discussed.