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Feeling Torn When Everything Seems Right: Semantic Incongruence Causes Felt Ambivalence

Gebauer, Jochen E., Maio, Gregory Richard and Pakizeh, A. 2013. Feeling Torn When Everything Seems Right: Semantic Incongruence Causes Felt Ambivalence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 39 (6) , pp. 777-791. 10.1177/0146167213481679

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Abstract

The co-occurrence of positive and negative attributes of an attitude object typically accounts for less than a quarter of the variance in felt ambivalence toward these objects, rendering this evaluative incongruence insufficient for explaining felt ambivalence. The present research tested whether another type of incongruence, semantic incongruence, also causes felt ambivalence. Semantic incongruence arises from inconsistencies in the descriptive content of attitude objects’ attributes (e.g., attributes that are not mutually supportive), independent of these attributes’ valences. Experiment 1 manipulated evaluative and semantic incongruence using valence norms and semantic norms. Both of these norm-based manipulations independently predicted felt ambivalence, and, in Experiment 2, they even did so over and above self-based incongruence (i.e., participants’ idiosyncratic perceptions of evaluative and semantic incongruence). Experiments 3a and 3b revealed that aversive dissonant feelings play a role in the effects of evaluative incongruence, but not semantic incongruence, on felt ambivalence.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: attitudes; ambivalence; evaluative incongruence; semantic incongruence; agency-communion
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0146-1672
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:04
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/48149

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