The role of perceived consensus in reactance

Amyn Abduk-Khaliq, Fayetteville State University


The effect of perceived consensus of opinion on reactance was tested by creating a situation in which reactance would likely takes place. Participant's attitudes and consensus estimates, on several social issues were first assessed. Reactance was generated by forcing participants to work counter to their stated opinion on the issue of legalization of marijuana. Dependent variables were the number of telephone calls participants agreed to make, and the number of persuasive statements they generated. The primary hypothesis that forcing a person to work counter to their stated opinion would produce a "boomerang effect" was supported. Participants forced to work against their stated opinions generated fewer statements and agreed to make fewer calls relative to a control group. A second hypothesis that those with a perceived minority consensus of opinion would demonstrate more reactance than those with a perceived majority consensus was shown to be in the opposite direction than that predicted. Another prediction that regardless of consensus condition participants scoring relatively higher on a reactance trait scale would demonstrate more reactance was supported on the primary dependent variable and marginally supported on the second dependent variable. Results, implications, and suggested directions for future research are discussed.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Abduk-Khaliq, Amyn, "The role of perceived consensus in reactance" (2008). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI1484511.