The effect of attitude dissimulation on attitude accessibility

Gregory R. Maio, James M. Olson

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In two experiments, we examined the effect of attitude dissimulation and truthful attitude expression on attitude accessibility, which is the ease with which an attitude is retrieved from memory. In the first experiment, 161 subjects lied about their attitudes toward some attitude objects and expressed their true attitudes toward other attitude objects. Next, as our measure of attitude accessibility, subjects were asked to express quickly and accurately their true attitudes toward (a) the objects that they had lied about, (b) the objects that they had evaluated truthfully, and (c) other objects that they had not evaluated at all. Results indicated that both attitude dissimulation and truthful attitude expression caused attitudes to become more accessible (i.e., more quickly recalled) than if the attitudes had not been previously expressed. In the second experiment, we tested the hypothesis that attitude dissimulation increases attitude accessibility only when the dissimulation causes conscious recall of one's true attitude. Results supported this hypothesis. The implications of these results for predicting the effect of lying on attitude-behavior relations is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127
Number of pages1
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1995

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