As a part of a study ostensibly concerned with conceptual ability, 120 male and 92 female undergraduates were asked to perform a boring task that consisted of generating random numbers for 20 minutes. The experimenter presented herself as being either attractive or unattractive, and made either favorable or unfavorable comments in describing the task. Following performance of the task, subjects rated it on either signed or unsigned questionnaires. Prior findings were replicated since a direct relationship was obtained between subjects' task evaluations and experimenter's opinion only when the experimenter was attractive; when she behaved unattractively, her opinion had no effect. The anonymity of questionnaire responses did not interact with the other two independent variables, thus providing no support for a two-factor interpretation which predicted dissonance effects under private assessment and impression management only under public assessment. When viewed in combination with previous findings, the results of this experiment indicate that interpersonal, rather than intrapsychic aspects of counterattitudinal behavior should be considered.
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Forsyth, Donelson R., Marc Riess, and Barry R. Schlenker. "Impression Management Concerns Governing Reactions to a Faulty Decision." Representative Research in Social Psychology 8 (1977): 12-22.