SELF-PRESENTATIONS OF ATTITUDES FOLLOWING COMMITMENT TO PROATTITUDINAL BEHAVIOR

Authors


Barry R. Schlenker (Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 1972) is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611. Marc Riess (Ph.D., University of Florida, 1977) is an assistant professor of psychology at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont 05753. This study accepted for publication April 19, 1979.

Abstract

Attitude statements present a particular image of the respondent to onlookers and can be tactically used for self-presentational purposes. The present study investigated the relationship between variables relevant to self-presentation and attitude statements following proattitudinal actions. Under conditions of high or low decision freedom, female subjects committed themselves to argue for a proattitudinal issue. The experimenter described the issue as either low or high in importance, and subsequent attitudes toward the issue were measured in a way which allowed low (subjects did not sign their questionnaires and placed them in a collection box) or high (subjects signed their questionnaires and handed them to the experimenter) personal association with attitude statements. A triple interaction of the variables was found on subjects'statements of personal involvement with the issue. As suggested by a self-presentation approach, subjects expressed more involvement under no-choice/low-association/high-importance conditions than under choice/low-association/high-importance conditions. Subjects who were denied personal responsibility and close association with an important action apparently increased their involvement to gain responsibility. The findings failed to support self-perception predictions of more favorable attitudes under choice rather than no-choice conditions.

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