Deflecting reactance: The role of similarity in increasing compliance and reducing resistance.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: On the basis of the approach–avoid dynamics assumed by reactance theory (S. S. Brehm & J. W. Brehm, 1981) and other models (E. S. Knowles & J. A. Linn, 2004), it was predicted that interpersonal similarity can reduce reactance by increasing compliance and by reducing resistance. A communicator‘s similarity to the participant was manipulated by identical first names and birthdays (Experiment 1) and by congruent values (Experiment 2). People then read essays in which the communicator did or did not threaten their attitudinal freedom. Threats caused boomerang effects only when the communicator‘s similarity was low or unknown. When the communicator was highly similar to the participant, people agreed strongly, regardless of threat. Similarity increased the force toward persuasion by increasing liking, and it decreased the force toward resistance by making the message seem less threatening. Implications for reactance theory and for resistance to persuasion are discussed.

Additional Information

Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 27, 277-284
Language: English
Date: 2005
Reactance theory, Compliance, Resistance, Reactance

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