The present research examines whether existing attitudes can spontaneously bias the content and direction of generated counterfactual thoughts, and whether these thoughts influence subsequent attitude-relevant judgments. Two experimental studies demonstrate that attitudes can bias the content of counterfactual thoughts, and that these biased thoughts in turn predict polarized attitudes. These effects were obtained regardless of whether explicit instructions for counterfactual generation were given. Furthermore, both studies demonstrate that these effects are mediated by judgments of future likelihood. Implications of these results for theories of counterfactual thinking and persuasion are discussed.
|Translated title of the contribution||When mutations meet motivations: Attitude biases in counterfactual thought|
|Pages (from-to)||65 - 74|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Social Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2004|