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I Like it Because I Like Myself: Associative Self-Anchoring and Post-Decisional Change of Implicit Attitudes, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology


Research in the cognitive dissonance tradition has shown that choosing between two equally attractive alternatives leads to more favorable evaluations of chosen as compared to rejected alternatives (spreading-of-alternatives effect). The present research tested associative self-anchoring as an alternative mechanism for post-decisional changes of implicit evaluations. Specifically, we argue that choosing an object results in the creation of an association between the chosen object and the self. By virtue of this association, implicit evaluations of the self tend to transfer to the chosen object, such that implicit evaluations of the chosen object depend on implicit evaluations of the self. Importantly, this mechanism can lead to ownership-related changes in implicit evaluations even in the absence of cognitive dissonance. Results from four experiments provide converging evidence for these assumptions. Implications for a variety of phenomena are discussed, including cognitive dissonance, the mere ownership effect, the endowment effect, and ingroup favoritism.




Bert Gawronski, Galen Bodenhausen, Andrew Becker

Date Published



Gawronski, Bert, Galen Bodenhausen, and Andrew Becker. 2007. I Like it Because I Like Myself: Associative Self-Anchoring and Post-Decisional Change of Implicit Attitudes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.(2): 221-232.


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