Trivialization: The Forgotten Mode of Dissonance Reduction

Linda Simon, Jeff Greenberg, Jack Brehm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

324 Scopus citations


Trivialization as a mode of dissonance reduction and the conditions under which it is likely to occur were explored in 4 studies. Study 1 tested and supported the hypothesis that when the preexisting attitude is made salient, participants will trivialize the dissonant cognitions rather than change their attitudes. Study 2 tested and supported the hypothesis that following a counterattitudinal behavior, participants will choose the first mode of dissonance reduction provided for them, whether it is trivialization or attitude change. Study 3 tested and supported the hypothesis that following a counter attitudinal behavior, the typical self-affirmation treatment leads to trivialization. Study 4 demonstrated that providing a trivializing frame by making an important issue salient also encourages trivialization rather than attitude change even when there was no opportunity for self-affirmation. The implications for cognitive dissonance theory and research are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-260
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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