Oppositional behavior as a function of influence attempt intensity and retaliation threat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In 2 field studies an attempt was made to determine how the behavior-inhibiting components of commonly used social influence strategies affect the behavioral dynamics of the reactance effect. A total of 660 Ss, who were intercepted in the street and asked to sign a petition advocating an action they strongly supported (price controls on 2 food items), were also confronted with systematically varied influence attempts aimed at inhibiting them from signing the petition. It was predicted that reactance effects would predominate, and thus the frequency of oppositional behavior would increase as the intensity of the influence attempt increased, provided that there was no threat of retaliation or Ss believed that the retaliation was unlikely to be carried out. Results of both studies support the predictions: Increases in petition signing occurred when the intensity of the influence attempt increased, except when the influence agent was viewed as having the power to implement the threatened retaliation and, even then, only when the S could not remain anonymous. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-578
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1976

Keywords

  • likelihood of threatened retaliation, strength of oppositional behavior measured by petition signature
  • presence &
  • social influence attempt intensity &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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