University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business

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Group identification as a means of attitude restoration

Author(s): Joshua Clarkson, Eliot Smith, Zakary Tormala, Riley Dugan

Status: Published
Year: 2017
Publication Name: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume: 68, Page Number(s): 139-145


Abstract

This paper investigates the possibility that individuals selectively identify with groups as a means of restoring certainty in their attitudes. Specifically,we contend that (i) groups offer social validation in the formof attitudinal norms, (ii) individuals heighten their identification with groups that offer norms that are consistent with attitudes that have been undermined, and (iii) access to these norms reduces attitude uncertainty. Two experiments support this hypothesis by demonstrating greater identification following a loss of attitude certainty, though only with groups offering relevant attitudinal norms. Moreover, this identification is subsequently shown to promote attitude restoration in the form of increased certainty. Consequently, groups serve an important role in attitude restoration by protecting attitudes against uncertainty when a relevant group is available to bolster the attitude.


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