The reinstatement of dissonance and psychological discomfort following failed affirmations

Adam D. Galinsky, Jeff Stone, Joel Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


The research in this article examined the consequences of a failed attempt to reduce dissonance through a self-affirmation strategy. It was hypothesized that disconfirming participants' affirmations would reinstate psychological discomfort and dissonance motivation. In Experiment 1, high-dissonance participants who affirmed on a self-relevant value scale and received disconforming feedback about their affirmations expressed greater psychological discomfort (Elliot & Devine, 1994) than either affirmation-only participants or low-dissonance/affirmation disconformed participants. In Experiment 2, disconfirmation of an affirmation resulted in increased attitude change. The results of both experiments suggested that a failed attempt to reduce dissonance reinstates psychological discomfort and dissonance motivation. We discuss how the reduction of psychological discomfort may play a role in the success of affirmations in reducing dissonance-produced attitude change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-147
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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