The Scientific Importance of the Experiment

This question was included because there was a chance that differences might emerge. There are, after all, other ways in which the experimentally created dissonance could be reduced. For example, one way would be for the S to magnify for himself the value of the reward he obtained. This, however, was un-

likely in this experiment because money was used for the reward and it is undoubtedly difficult to convince oneself that one dollar is more than it really is. There is another pos- sible way, however. The 5s were given a very good reason, in addition to being paid, for saying what they did to the waiting girl. The 5s were told it was necessary for the experi- ment. The dissonance could, consequently, be reduced by magnifying the importance of this cognition. The more scientifically important they considered the experiment to be, the less was the total magnitude of dissonance. It is possible, then, that the results on this ques- tion, shown in the third row of figures in Table 1, might reflect dissonance reduction.

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The results are weakly in line with what one would expect if the dissonance were somewhat reduced in this manner. The One Dollar condi- tion is higher than the other two. The differ- ence between the One and Twenty Dollar conditions reaches the .08 level of significance on a two-tailed test (t = 1.79). The difference between the One Dollar and Control conditions is not impressive at all (t = 1.21). The result that the Twenty Dollar condition is actually lower than the Control condition is un- doubtedly a matter of chance (t = 0.58).

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