Using cognitive dissonance inducing interventions to change drivers' attitudes and reduce drivers' speeding behaviour

McCartan, Rebecca and Elliott, Mark (2018) Using cognitive dissonance inducing interventions to change drivers' attitudes and reduce drivers' speeding behaviour. In: 29th International Congress of Applied Psychology, 2018-06-26 - 2018-06-30.

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    Abstract

    Cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957) is an unpleasant state of arousal experienced when people hold conflicting attitudes or do not behave in line with their attitudes. Cognitive dissonance can promote attitude-change (induced compliance paradigm) or help translate desirable attitudes into behaviour (hypocrisy induction paradigm). Two randomised controlled trials (RCTs) tested dissonance inducing interventions based on the induced compliance paradigm (one face-to-face and one online intervention). Another two RCTs tested dissonance inducing interventions based on the hypocrisy induction paradigm (one face-to-face and one online intervention). All RCTs tested reductions in drivers’ speeding behaviour. The dissonance inducing interventions based on the induced compliance procedure generated a change in drivers’ attitudes towards speeding but did not reduce speeding behaviour. The dissonance inducing interventions based on the hypocrisy induction procedure, however, did generate reductions in speeding behaviour. The results demonstrate that cognitive dissonance interventions based on induced compliance promote attitude-change and cognitive dissonance interventions based on hypocrisy induction can generate changes in driver behaviour (reductions in speeding). The results therefore have practical implications for attitude and behaviour-change with regards to road safety. Induced compliance and hypocrisy induction interventions could be usefully delivered as part of road safety campaigns or training courses (e.g., Stephenson et al, 2010) to promote attitude and behaviour-change.