UBC Undergraduate Research

Misattribution of Cognitive Dissonance : Assessing the Reliability of Extant Literature and Meta-analysis Tomita, Ross; Rivers, Andrew

Abstract

Cognitive dissonance theory describes the aversive affective state that results from considering two conflicting cognitions. This cognitive dissonance often propels an individual to change one of these cognitions in a way that resolves the conflict. However, previous research has shown that individuals are less likely to change existing cognitions if they misattribute their dissonance to a source other than conflicting conditions. Previous research has investigated misattribution as a method that can be misattributed to a source other than the true cause - conflicting cognitions. Generally, when someone is placed in a state of cognitive dissonance, they are amenable to changing their beliefs or behavior in order to reduce dissonance. However, misattribution research finds that people are less likely to change their beliefs or behavior when given a stimulus that they can misattribute their dissonance to. As a result of the recent replication crisis, we have reason to believe that some areas of research may not be as reliable as previously thought. Even phenomena thought to be reliable, and conceptually replicated many times, have been shown to be lacking substantial evidence (e.g., ego-depletion effects). The aim of the present study was to determine the reliability of the literature investigating misattribution of cognitive dissonance. A meta-analysis of the literature was conducted to determine it’s reliability. The articles were tested for publication bias using the p-curve technique. Results showed that there appears to be reliable support for the misattribution phenomenon, and that there is no detectable p-hacking and/or publication bias in the extant literature.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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