When Exemplification Fails: Hypocrisy and the Motive for Self-Integrity

Jeff Stone, Joel Cooper, Andrew W. Wiegand, Elliot Aronson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


Two experiments investigated how the dissonance that follows a hypocritical behavior is reduced when 2 alternatives are available: a direct strategy (changing behavior to make it less hypocritical) or an indirect strategy (the affirmation of an unrelated positive aspect of the self). In Experiment 1, after dissonance was aroused by hypocrisy, significantly more participants chose to reduce dissonance directly, despite the clear availability of a self-affirmation strategy. In Experiment 2, participants again chose direct resolution of their hypocritical discrepancy, even when the opportunity to affirm the self held more importance for their global self-worth. The discussion focuses on the mechanisms that influence how people select among readily available strategies for dissonance reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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