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Using a cognitive dissonance inducing intervention to change drivers' attitudes towards speeding

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

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    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. The induced compliance paradigm is a technique used to promote attitude-change by inducing feelings of cognitive dissonance. A randomised controlled trial (RCT) tested a dissonance inducing intervention based on the induced compliance paradigm. The RCT was delivered face-to-face and tested changes in drivers’ attitudes towards speeding. The induced compliance procedure generated a change in drivers’ attitudes towards speeding. Specifically, the intervention group reported more desirable attitudes towards speeding (i.e., less positive attitudes) compared to the control group. The results demonstrate that the cognitive dissonance intervention based on induced compliance can promote attitude-change. The results therefore have practical implications for attitude-change with regards to road safety. Induced compliance interventions could be usefully delivered as part of road safety campaigns or training courses (e.g., Stephenson et al, 2010) to change drivers’ attitudes towards speeding.