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Journal ol Personality and Social Psychology

1975, Vol. 32, No. 1, 83-91

Affective-Cognitive Consistency, Attitudes, Conformity,


and Behavior
Ross Norman
University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
Three studies were done to investigate the relationship between affective-
cognitive consistency and the strength of the attitude-behavior relation. In
each study the affective and cognitive components of students' attitudes toward
volunteering as a subject for psychological research were assessed, and an op-
portunity was later presented for these students to actually volunteer as sub-
jects. It was found as hypothesized that students showing high affective-
cognitive consistency were more likely to act in accord with stated attitude
than those showing- low intraattitudinal consistency. It was also hypothesized
that students showing high affective-cognitive consistency would have less
tendency than low-consistency subjects to conform to the actions of others in
attitude-relevant behavior. The data did not provide strong support for this
prediction. Overall, the results indicate the importance of assessing both the
affective and the cognitive components of attitude in identifying those whose
verbal attitude reports have consequences for their behavior.

Attitude formation and change have long Ajzen & Fishbein, 1973; Wicker, 1971). That
been prominent research topics in social psy- other factors beside attitude influence behav-
chology. Implicit in most of this research ap- ior is hardly surprising. Although the develop-
pears to be the assumption that an individ- ment of refined methodology for the assess-
ual's attitudes are significant determinants ment of these additional influences is a wel-
of his subsequent behavior. However, despite come result of recent research, the fact that
early warnings against assuming a strong rela- various normative and situational pressures
tion between verbal attitude measures and can influence an individual's tendency to
other forms of behavior (e.g., Corey, 1937; behave in accord with his attitudes is, of
LaPiere, 1934), only in recent years has there course, to be expected.
been a concerted effort to study the nature The present research has been directed
of the attitude-behavior relation. toward identifying structural characteristics
Recent approaches to the study of attitudes of attitudes which may help predict the
and behavior (e.g., Fishbein, 1967; Wicker, strength of their relation to behavior. In par-
1971) have emphasized that behavior is a ticular, this work focuses on Rosenberg's hy-
function of many factors (norms, situational pothesis (1960, 1968) that the greater the
pressures, etc.) in addition to attitude. When consistency between the affective and cogni-
these "other variables" are taken into con- tive components of an attitude, the truer is
sideration in addition to attitude, behavioral the disposition implied by that attitude. To
predictions are significantly improved (e.g.,
quote Rosenberg (1968):
This paper is based, in part, on a dissertation
submitted by the author in partial fulfillment of the . . . for any particular social issue or object as con*
doctoral requirements at the University of Michigan. fronted by a sample drawn from some fairly uniform
The author would particularly like to express his sector of the population (e.g., college students re-
thanks to his supervisor, Melvin Manis, and Eugene cruited for attitude change experiments, or survey
Burnstein, James Jackson and Howard Schuman for respondents recruited from some particular sector of
their advice in the execution of this research; and to the total national population) one can reasonably
Richard Sorrentino for his comments on an earlier expect that those who show less intra-attitudinal
draft of this article. consistency are, on the average, less invested in the
Requests for reprints should be sent to Ross issue and less likely to have a presently stable
Norman, Department of Psychology, University of orientation toward it. (p. 88)
Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. Copies
of the scales used in this article may also be obtained Rosenberg (1968) suggested two reasons
from the author. why attitudes characterized by low affective-
83
84 Ross NORMAN

cognitive (structural) consistency are likely of an individual's attitude will be more pre-
to be unstable. dictive of behavior when it is consistent with
1. The procedure used for assessing the af- the cognitive component of the attitude struc-
fective and cognitive attitude components ture than when there is inconsistency between
force the respondent to examine inconsist- the two. (b) Hypothesis 2—A cognitive index
encies between his thoughts and feelings of of an individual's attitude will be a better
which he was previously unaware. Once the predictor of behavior when it is consistent
inconsistency is salient, the affective and/or with the affective component of the attitude
cognitive components may be changed to than when there is inconsistency between
bring about greater consistency, and such the two.
changes result in instability of both compo- A series of three experiments were under-
nents in those attitudes which show initially taken to test the importance of affective-
low structural consistency. cognitive consistency. The first experiment
2. Rosenberg also noted that individuals tested the relation between structural con-
who are not particularly interested in an issue sistency and the predictive validity of verbal
rarely have well-articulated, well-thought-out attitudes. The second was an attempt to repli-
attitudes. Often such individuals will not re- cate the first and also tested the relation of
veal their apathy by giving a neutral response structural consistency to attitude stability.
but rather will take a position that is a The final experiment examined whether affec-
reaction to situational pressures or that repre- tive-cognitive consistency also moderates sub-
sents the consensus of some salient individual jects' tendency to conform to others in atti-
or important reference group (see also Con- tude-relevant behavior. Such an effect might
verse, 1970). Such a responder may be be found if, as Rosenberg suggests, structural
regarded as presenting a "vacuous" or "in- consistency is related to an individual's
authentic" attitude toward the issue. For the involvement and certainty concerning an issue.
vacuous responder, neither statements con- Volunteering to act as a subject for psycho-
cerning his beliefs nor his feelings are reflec- logical research was chosen as the attitude
tive of a true and stable disposition, and his object. This was an issue from which it
attitude responses are apt to show con- seemed possible to obtain measures of attitude
siderable and apparently random fluctuation and behavior under circumstances which
over time. would not appear too unusual to the subjects.
Previous research by Rosenberg (1968)
has supported the notion that affective-cogni- METHOD
tive consistency is associated with attitudinal Development of the Attitude Instrument
stability and resistance to persuasion at- Attitude theorists have traditionally made a dis-
tempts. Given that attitudes characterized by tinction between the affective and cognitive compo-
affective-cognitive consistency have greater nents of attitude (e.g., Bern, 1970; Katz & Stotland,
1959; Newcomb, 1959; Rosenberg & Hovland, 1960;
stability than less consistent attitudes, it Triandis, 1971), and several recent studies using
seems reasonable to anticipate that they will factor analytic techniques support this long-standing
have greater validity as predictors of subse- conceptual distinction (Kernan & Trebbi, 1973;
quent behavior. While there is evidence that Kothandapani, 1971; Ostrom, 1969). The affective
component in these theories refers to the individual's
affective-cognitive consistency results in rela- general level of positive or negative feeling concern-
tively stable verbal attitudes, there is at ing the issue. The cognitive component consists of
present no empirical support for the idea that the individual's beliefs concerning the issue. When
structural consistency is related to predictive the attitude issue is an action or behavior, the
validity. Such a relation, if it does exist, relevant cognitive structure is considered to be the
individual's beliefs about the instrumental utility of
would be important in identifying individuals the action for the attainment or blocking of his or
who will act in accord with their attitudes her goals weighted by the value placed on such goals.
from those whose stated attitudes are rela- In the first two studies a 9-point rating scale of
tively superficial and have few behavioral overall favorability toward acting as a subject in
psychological research was used as the affective
ramifications. The above considerations lead index. This scale was anchored at one extreme by
to the following two hypotheses: (a) Hy- the term Very Favorable and at the other extreme
pothesis 1—An affective or evaluative index by the term Very Unfavorable, and a neutral point
ATTITUDES, CONFORMITY, AND BEHAVIOR 85

was explicitly indicated. Similar scales have been ment of psychology." Subjects were asked to put
used by Kothandapani (1971), Ostrom (1969), and their names on the completed forms, since there was
Rosenberg (1968) to measure the affective compo- some possibility that the department might want to
nent of the attitude. In the third study a 16-item relate their answers to a later questionnaire. In Ex-
semantic differential evaluative scale was used in periment 2 -the attitudes scales were readministered
addition to the self-rating scale in order to make the 3 weeks after the initial assessment.
cognitive and affective scales of comparable length. In the first two studies the behavioral measure
Development of the cognitive index was somewhat was taken 3 weeks after presentation of the attitude
more complex. Goals that appeared possible relevant questionnaire (in Experiment 2 after presentation of
to the attitude issue were selected by the- author the second questionnaire). An experimenter, intro-
from lists presented by Carlson (1956), Rokeach duced as a graduate student in .psychology, was given
(1968), and Rosenberg (19S6). These goals were S minutes at the beginning of a class session to re-
submitted to a group of judges (4 psychology gradu- cruit volunteer subjects for a research project. The
ate students and 40 introductory psychology stu- students were -told that the study would take ap-
dents) who were asked to indicate whether each goal proximately 1 hour of their time and would hope-
was relevant to the attitude issue, whether there fully prove to be interesting and educationally bene-
were marked redundancies between the goals, and ficial. They were also told that they could not be
whether were goals relevant to the attitude issue paid for their time and that their participation in
which were not included in the list. Based on the the experiment would not count toward the 3 hours
judges' responses, the number of goals was reduced of "subject time" that was required as part of their
to 12. Examples of goals in the final list include: course. Sign-up sheets were then passed around the
helping others, advancing self-knowledge, having classes so that students who were interested in
new and interesting kinds of experience, and having volunteering could indicate when they would be able
lots of free time. to come to the designated location for the experi-
In the final version of the attitude questionnaire, ment. Volunteers were given an opportunity to sign
these 12 goals were rated on two 9-point scales. On up for any time between 9 a.m. to S p.m. on any
one the respondent was asked to indicate the extent one of three designated days. Students who signed
to which he believed each goal would be achieved up and did indeed show up at the proper place and
(or blocked) by volunteering as a subject. This scale time participated in an experiment unrelated to
was anchored by the phrase completely achieved at this study.
one end (scored as +4) through a neutral point (0), The behavioral measure in Experiment 3 differed
to completely blocked (—4) at the other end. The from that in the first two studies. The change was
other scale was used to evaluate each goal; this scale made in order to better control situational pressures
was similar to the "belief scale" described above, but relevant to the behavior. Subjects were recruited
it was anchored by the terms extremely positive goal from 'their classes to take part individually in an
(+4) and extremely negative goal (—4). The over- experiment as part of their course requirement. They
all cognitive index was calculated by finding the were given a wide choice of times to sign up
product of the two ratings for each goal and ranging from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through
summing across goals (see Rosenberg, 1960). Space Friday of a given week. Of the students who had
was also included at the end of the questionnaire answered the initial attitude questionnaire, IDS
for subjects to include and rate on the two scales signed up in class as subjects for the study. An
goals they considered relevant to the issue which additional 29 students were contacted by telephone
were not in the list of 12 presented to them. and scheduled to participate in the experiment. Of
Nine-point rating scales were also provided in the the students who had filled out the earlier atti-
third study for respondents to indicate how certain tude questionnaire, 127 actually showed up for the
they felt about their attitude: how important they experiment.
considered the issue and how much thought they When each subject arrived at the designated lab,
had given to the issue in the past. he or she was seated in a waiting area to await
being called by the experimenter. Another subject
Subjects (in reality an experimental confederate) also ar-
A total of 242 students from introductory psychol- rived in the lab at the same time. The confederate
ogy courses at the University of Michigan were used was always of the same sex as the subject. Both
as subjects in the three studies. Of these, 48 subjects the subject and the confederate were greeted in the
same fashion by the experimenter and were taken to
were dropped from various analyses in the studies
because of their absence at the time of an attitudinal an area of the lab where numerous pieces of equip-
or behavioral measure, or suspicion concerning some ment had been placed. After seating the subject and
aspect of the experimental procedure. confederate, the experimenter asked them whether
they would be willing to return for an additional
two experimental sessions after the first one had
Procedure been completed. The confederate was first asked
In all studies the initial attitude questionnaire was whether he or she was willing to return, and then
administered during regular class meetings by the the real subject was asked.
instructors. The questionnaire was described as part Under somewhat similar circumstances Blake and
of "a general survey being done within the depart- Mouton (19S7) found that a naive subject was more
86 Ross NORMAN
likely to volunteer when a confederate seated next (1968). Subjects in each experiment were
to him agreed to do so than if the confederate
refused. For half of the subjects the confederate's
rank ordered in terms of the overall favor-
response was congruent with the subject's initial ability implied by the weighted cognitive
attitude (e.g., the confederate agreed to come back index and also on the basis of the affective
when the subject had stated a positive attitude as index.1 Affective-cognitive consistency was
measured by the averaged affective-cognitive scale). denned as the discrepancy between the indi-
For the other half of the subjects, the confederate's
response was incongruent with their attitudes. vidual's position in the two rankings: The
Although the confederate's response was predeter- higher the absolute value of the discrepancy,
mined, the study was run using the experimental the lower was the affective-cognitive consist-
blind, so that during each session neither the experi- ency. In each study subjects were split at the
menter nor the confederate knew whether the con-
federate's response was congruent or incongruent
median into a high- and low-consistency
with the subject's attitude. The experimenter and group.2 The correlation between the cogni-
confederate were also kept ignorant of whether tive and affective scores for the high-consist-
any particular subject had shown high or low af- ency groups were, of course, highly signifi-
fective-cognitive consistency on the earlier attitude cant (r = .87, .89, and .88, respectively, for
questionnaire.
The main behavioral criterion in this third study the three studies, p < .01 in each case;
was whether the subject agreed to come back for the whereas for the low-consistency subjects the
additional sessions. It was, however, impractical to correlations were nonsignificant (r = —.18,
have all of the subjects who indicated they would -.12, and -.04).
come back actually do so. Thus, for most subjects
who agreed to attend the additional sessions, an Subjects holding extreme attitudes may be
explanation of the deception and the true nature of more likely to act in the manner implied by
the study was immediately given. In order to deter- their stated attitudes than subjects who have
mine if signing up to come back involved a real less polarized attitudes. For this reason, it
behavioral commitment, 25 of the subjects who
agreed to return were given a number of question- seemed desirable to compare the affective and
naires to fill out in the lab and were then asked to cognitive scores for subjects who were classi-
come back at the later time they had indicated. Of fied as high (vs. low) in structural consist-
the 25 subjects tested in this way, 23 actually did ency. In all three studies the high- and low-
come back and were then debriefed. On this basis
and because of the close correspondence between
consistency groups did not differ significantly
signing up for a study and actually showing up in terms of the means and standard deviations
that was found in Experiments 1 and 2, we may of their affective scores, cognitive scores, or
conclude that the behavioral criterion used in this an averaged affective/cognitive score (calcu-
third experiment was of real consequence. lated after converting both scales to a com-
When subjects were debriefed, they were asked
whether they had been suspicious that there was mon metric). Any differences in the predictive
deception involved in any aspect of their experi- validity of their attitudes cannot, therefore,
ence during the session. Eight subjects indicated be due to differences in the extremity of their
having suspicions: Five said they were suspicious stated feelings or beliefs.
about the confederates, and three indicated suspi-
cions about the request for them to come back for 1
the extra sessions. These eight subjects were dropped Some subjects wrote in on their questionnaire
from the sample, although their inclusion would not and rated on the appropriate scales goals which were
have had a significant impact on the results. Data not in the original list provided. The results reported
from the two other subjects were discarded because include these extra goals; however, the pattern of
they answered the volunteering request before the results is not changed if the extra goals are not
confederate. None of the subjects indicated being included in the cognitive index.
2
suspicious of a relation between the attitude ques- There are circumstances under which this may be
tionnaire and the experimental session. No connection a poor measure of discrepancy. For example, if a
was implied by either the class instructor or the number of respondents gave highly positive re-
experimenter between the request for subjects and sponses on one scale and highly negative responses
the earlier attitude questionnaire. Questioning of stu- on the other, then individuals giving neutral re-
dents in the classes after the studies were completed sponses on both scales would be scored as high in
indicated that none of them had inferred any such discrepancy. It might, therefore, be advantageous to
connection. use an index of consistency based on the difference
between the deviations of scores on the two scales
RESULTS from their neutral midpoint. When this is done with
the current data, the classification of subjects as high
Affective-cognitive consistency was mea- or low in consistency was very similar to that
sured in the manner suggested by Rosenberg obtained using Rosenberg's index.
ATTITUDES, CONFORMITY, AND BEHAVIOR 87

TABLE 1
CORRELATION OF ATTITUDE SCORES WITH VOLUNTEERING BEHAVIOR

Study 2
Attitude component Study 1 Study 3
(« = 26} (n = 117)
Test 1 Test 2
(n - 53) (n = 39)

All subjects
Affective .15 .14 .31 .23*
Cognitive .21 .50** .53** .35**
Affective-cognitive .18 .37** .47** .25*
High-consistency subjects (» = 14) (n = 26) (n = 20) (n = 59)
Affective .62* .53** .53* .47**
Cognitive .40 .50* .49* .49**
Affective-cognitive .51 .53** .51* .44**
Low-consistency subjects (n = 12) (n = 27) (w = 19) (n = 58)
Affective -.28 -.22 .24 -.04
Cognitive -.15 .51* .56** .19
Affective-cognitive -.18 .26 .39 .15

* p < .05.
**P <.01.

Test oj Main Hypotheses: Relation of there is an increase in cognitive-affective con-


Attitudes to Behavior sistency for initially low-consistency subjects
For the first two studies a composite index between the first and second administration
was used as the behavioral criterion. If a of the questionnaire. In checking this pos-
subject did not sign up to volunteer he was sibility, it was found that while the cognitive-
given a score of zero, if he signed up but did affective correlation for low-consistency sub-
not come he was given a score of 1, and if jects was —.22 in the first testing, at the
he volunteered and showed up he was given time of the second testing the correlation had
a score of 2." Verbal agreement to return increased to .37. Such a finding is compatible
for the additional session was the behavioral with Rosenberg's postulate that the assess-
measure in Experiment 3. ment procedure may make affective-cognitive
The correlation between verbal attitude inconsistency salient to some subjects, result-
reports and behavior are presented in Table 1. ing in a change in affect and/or cognition
In all three studies (for the moment ignoring and the development of a better articulated
the second questionnaire of Experiment 2) attitude.
the affective index was found to be signifi- In contrast to the supportive results ob-
cantly stronger in its relation to behavior tained with the affective index, the effect of
when consistent with the cognitive index than affective-cognitive consistency on the predic-
when there was inconsistency between the tive validity of the cognitive measure appears
two (0 = 2.26, p<.05; z = 2.71, p < .01; less clear-cut. In Experiment 3, although the
z = 2.89, p < .01 for Experiments 1, 2, and 3, effect is in the predicted direction (a higher
respectively). correlation with behavior for high-consistency
Concerning the results of the second ques- respondents), it does not quite reach con-
tionnaire given in Experiment 2, the differ- ventional levels of statistical significance
ence between high- and low-consistency sub- (z = 1.29, p < .10, one-tailed). In the second
jects in the predictive validity of the affective study the difference between high- and low-
index does not reach statistical significance consistency respondents is negligible for both
(2 = .997, ns). This might be expected if questionnaires (z = .048, .280); but in the
third study the results are significantly in the
8
For Experiments 1 and 2 only the correlation predicted direction (z — 1.89, p < .05, one-
between attitude and this composite behavioral index tailed). The results of the third study provide
is reported. The pattern of results is the same, how- the strongest evidence in the set of experi-
ever, if point-biserial correlations are calculated with
signing up to attend or actually attending the ments for the proposition that the consistency
experimental sessions as the behavioral criterion. of cognition and affect influences the extent
Ross NORMAN

to which the cognitive index can be used to TABLE 3


predict behavior. The use of a longer affective RELATION or CONFEDERATES AND SUBJECTS
VOLUNTEERING FOR EXTRA SESSIONS,
scale in Experiment 3 may have resulted in STUDY 3
a more reliable index of affect and therefore
conceivably a more valid test of the hypothe- Confederates' response
ses than in the first and second studies. At Subject's response
any rate, considering the suggestive results Volunteered Didn't volunteer
of Experiment 1 and the significant results High affective—cognitive
of Experiment 3 there is reason to believe consistency subjects
that affective-cognitive consistency may mod- Volunteered 13
erate the predictive validity of the cognitive Didn't volunteer 13 14
as well as the affective scale.
Low affective-cognitive
Results using an averaged affective-cogni- consistency subjects
tive scale are also presented in Table 1. The
Volunteered 22 9
difference in the predictive validity of this Didn't volunteer 8 19
averaged score for high- and low-consistency
subjects reaches a one-tailed probability level
of .OS in Experiments 1 and 3 (z = 1.66 and Conformity in Behavior
1.69, respectively); but it does not approach
significance in Experiment 2 (z — 1.12 and Experiment 3 was also designed to test
.433 for the two testings). the hypothesis that subjects showing low
consistency in their attitudes would conform
Attitude Stability more to the confederate's behavior than would
high-consistency subjects. Table 3 summarizes
The test-retest reliability of attitude the relationship between subjects' and con-
toward volunteering was assessed on the 51 federates' responses to the request that they
subjects in Experiment 2 who were present at come back for the extra time.
both the first and second administration of A 2 X 2 X 2 chi-square analysis was per-
the questionnaire. The results are presented formed on Table 3 (Winer, 1962, pp. 629-
in Table 2. For the high-consistency subjects 632). The three factors used were affective-
the affective scale is, as predicted, more reli- cognitive consistency, confederate's response,
able (over time) than for low-consistency and subject's response. There was a signifi-
subjects (z = 3.11, p < .01). The cognitive cant relation between the confederate's re-
index shows high stability for all subjects. sponse and subject's response, x 2 (0 —8 - 02 >
On the whole, the effect of affective-cognitive p < .005, indicating a definite overall con-
consistency on the stabiltiy of the two indices formity effect. If affective-cognitive consist-
ency moderates subjects' tendency to conform,
parallels the findings with regard to the we would also expect a significant three-way
initial predictive validity of the scales in Consistency X Confederate's Response X Sub-
Experiment 2. jects' Response interaction. This interaction
only approaches a .10 significance level,
TABLE 2 X 2 ( l ) =2.60.
TEST-RETEST RELIABILITY OF MEASURES OP The considerations which led to the con-
ATTITUDE TOWARD VOLUNTEERING : SUBJECTS formity hypothesis also lead us to expect that
DIFFERING IN AFFECTIVE-COGNITIVE the low-consistency subjects will show greater
CONSISTENCY, STUDY 2
conformity to the confederate than would
Affective Cognitive high-consistency subjects only in those cases
Subjects index index
where the confederate's response was incon-
All" .60 .84 gruent with the subjects' previously stated
High-consistency1" .85 .86 attitude. It is only when such incongruency
Low-consistency" .32 .81
exists that situational forces are presumably
a
n = 51. being pitted against stated attitude in the
bn^ =• 25.
|= 26. determination of behavior. Under such cir-
ATTITUDES, CONFORMITY, AND BEHAVIOR 89

cumstances low-consistency subjects, because TABLE 4


of their presumed uncertainty and vacuity, SUBJECTS' TENDENCY TO CONFORM TO CONFEDERATE'S
RESPONSE UNDER CONDITIONS OF CONGRUENCY
should be more likely than high-consistency AND INCONGRUENCY, STUDY 3
subjects to follow the lead of the confederate.
When the confederate's response is congruent Subject's response High-consistency Low-consistency
subjects subjects
with the subject's stated attitude, both situ-
ational and attitudinal pressures imply the Congruent
same behavior, and there should therefore be Conformed 21 22
a strong relation between the confederate's Didn't conform 9 9
and subject's responses for all subjects re-
Incongruent
gardless of whether they are acting primarily
on the basis of their own attitude or conform- Conformed 11 19
ity. The summary of data relevant to this Didn't conform 17 9
conjecture is presented in Table 4. The rele- Note. Congruency defined by relation of confederate's re-
vant chi-square value for testing whether the sponse to averaged affective/cognitive index.
difference in conformity between high- and
low-consistency subjects is greater under con- each of the three studies subjects were classi-
ditions of incongruency than congruency fied as consistent or inconsistent in respond-
again only approaches significance at the .10 ing across randomly divided sets of scales
level, X 2 ( l ) =2.35. (ignoring the affective-cognitive distinction).
Overall, the results of these analyses do No significant differences in strength of the
not provide statistically significant support attitude-behavior relation or tendency to con-
for the prediction that affective-cognitive form were found between subjects classified
consistency moderates conformity. However, as high and low in consistency on the basis
because the results tend to approach signifi- of random splits. This suggests that while
cance, it might be advisable at this point to affective-cognitive consistency is a concept
withhold a final conclusion on the validity of with behavioral implications, in these studies
this hypothesis. overall consistency (based on random group-
ings of items) is not.
Necessity of the Affective-Cognitive Consistency: Issue Specific or Response
Distinction Style?
It might be argued that the distinction be- A subject who generally gives little thought
ing made between the affective and cognitive to the responses he makes on an attitude
components of attitude is meaningless or ir- questionnaire would probably score lower on
relevant. Both types of scales could be mea- our index of affective-cognitive consistency
suring the same aspect of attitude and the than one who gives more careful considera-
affective-cognitive consistency index might, tion to his responses. If such a general re-
according to this view, simply indicate the sponse style is substantially influencing the
general reliability of the subjects' responses index of structural consistency, we might
across a set of relatively homogeneous items. expect subjects to show significant correla-
Consistent responding across test items has tions across issues in the amount of affective-
traditionally been considered an important cognitive consistency that they exhibit. In
index of test reliability and might plausibly order to check for the possibility of such a
facilitate accurate behavioral predictions. general response style, in the second study
However, the theory underlying the current affective and cognitive scales similar to those
research assumes that the consistency between already described were developed and admin-
the affective and cognitive responses (consid- istered concerning two issues in addition to
ering the two as conceptually separate) gives volunteering: (a) prohibition of cigarette
more information about the predictive poten- smoking within classrooms and (b) a pro-
tial of verbal attitudes than would an index posal that all students should be requested
of reliability based on a random division of to take at least one psychology course in their
items. In order to check this assumption, in program of studies. These additional scales
90 Ross NORMAN

were administered just once at the time of the results obtained in the second study remain
second testing session. somewhat anomalous. In that study it was
There was little relation between the af- found that the predictive validity of cognition
fective-cognitive consistency that the indi- was not a function of its relation to affect.
vidual respondents displayed in reacting to While the difference in this regard between
the various attitude issues. The correlations the second and third studies might be ex-
varied between —.20 and .18, none of them plained by the use of different affective in-
approaching statistical significance. Thus dices, such an explanation does not account
there is little evidence that the affective- for the somewhat different pattern of results
cognitive consistency index is significantly between the first and second studies. In terms
influenced by general response style. of design, the only difference between the
latter two studies is the use of an attitude
Relation oj Affective-Cognitive Consistency retest in the second. There is no apparent
to Other Self-Ratings reason why such a difference in design should
Rosenberg (1968) suggested that degree of affect the overall validity of the cognitive
affective-cognitive consistency is associated scales; but a replication of the test-retest
with a subject's certainty and involvement design using a multi-item measure of affect
concerning an attitude issue. In Experiment might help clarify some of the issues involved.
3, however, no significant relation was found Experiment 3 does not offer statistically
between subjects' affective-cognitive consis- significant support for the prediction that
tency and their ratings of certainty, issue im- degree of affective-cognitive consistency af-
portance, or how much thought they had fects the extent to which subjects will con-
given to the issue in the past (rs ranged be- form to others in behaviors that are relevant
tween .03 and .14). to the attitude issue. This hypothesis was
derived from Rosenberg's (1968) suggestion
Order of Scales that structural consistency is related to the
In the questionnaire used in the first two certainty and involvement an individual feels
studies the affective scale items preceded the with regard to an attitude issue. The failure
items of the cognitive scale. Both possible to find a relation between the consistency
orders were used in Experiment 3 to see if index and self-rating of uncertainty or issue
there would be greater consistency between importance somewhat compromises this postu-
reported beliefs and feelings using one se- late. It may be that subjects found the mean-
quence rather than the other. There was no ing of the terms certain or important to be
evidence of a significant difference; the affec- ambiguous in the context in which it was
tive-cognitive correlation was .45 when the used, and the measure was therefore a poor
cognitive items preceded the affective scale one. Possibly other techniques of measuring
and .54 when the reverse ordering was used. certainty or involvement (e.g., the "own
categories" technique suggested by Sherif &
GENERAL DISCUSSION Sherif, 1967) may, in the future, be found to
On the whole, the results are supportive of be related to affective-cognitive consistency.
the hypotheses that the predictive validity of In the three experiments reported there was
both cognitive and affective scales is mod- a 3-4 week delay between attitudinal and
erated by affective-cognitive consistency. All behavioral measures. This was done for two
three studies have shown the predictive valid- related reasons: (a) to minimize any experi-
ity of the affective scale to be a function of mental demand characteristics that would in-
its consistency with an individual's belief fluence subjects' tendency to act in accord
structure. The strongly suggestive finding of with their stated attitudes and (b) because
the first study and the statistically significant the major challenge to attitude researchers
evidence of the third study indicate that the appears to be the prediction of later behavior
strength of the relation between the cognitive in situations at least somewhat different from
scale and behavior is also a function of af- the attitude measurement setting. However,
fective-cognitive consistency. the design used leaves some ambiguity as to
For the moment, however, several of the whether the low predictive validity of the
ATTITUDES, CONFORMITY, AND BEHAVIOR 91
stated attitudes of subjects showing low af- quantitative analysis of social problems. Reading,
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tion of the instability of these attitudes over Corey, S. M. Professed attitudes and actual behavior.
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issues, the results of the present studies indi- intention to act as three components of attitude,
cate the value of assessing both the affective and their contribution to the prediction of contra-
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