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Pleasant and Unpleasant Violations of Expectancies

Lamb, Patricia F.; Singer, Jerome E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute of Mental Health, Cognitive Dissonance, Expectation, Psychophysiology, Taste.


Two experiments are reported which test the hypothesis that the disconfirmation of an expectancy is unpleasant. In Experiment I, Ss in two groups--Expectancy Confirmed and Expectancy Disconfirmed--tasted quinine and sugar solutions. Contrary to predictions, quinine was judged more pleasant when tasted unexpectedly. In Experiment II, the 2 x 2 x 2 design varied Importance, Confirmation, and Solution. For one solution, a significant Importance x Confirmation interaction was demonstrated; Ss in the Importance condition found disconfirmation unpleasant while those in the Unimportance condition found it pleasant. Results are interpreted in relation to dissonance theory and need for variety.

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