False consensus and its effect on reactance

Nicole Marie Gillenwater, Fayetteville State University


The effect of using an educational manipulation to emphasize participants' perceived consensus on a social issue was tested to determine the effect on false consensus and reactance. False consensus, which is when a person sees their opinion as being in the majority, was found to relate to reactance. Past research studies have found a relationship between perceived consensus and reactance, but none of them have shown a cause and effect relationship as the current study has shown. Reactance is when a person reacts to a threat of freedom. Although the relationship was in the opposite direction of what was predicted; those who perceived themselves in the minority showed more reactance than those who perceive themselves to be in the majority. The current study shines new light on the false consensus effect and how it plays into reactance and race.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Experimental psychology

Recommended Citation

Gillenwater, Nicole Marie, "False consensus and its effect on reactance" (2010). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI1504752.