Attitude toward troop withdrawal from Indochina as a function of draft number: Dissonance or self-interest?

William W. Notz*, Barry M. Staw, Thomas D. Cook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Conducted 2 studies with a total of 382 draft-eligible and 438 draft-ineligible undergraduates to ascertain attitudes toward the number of troops in indochina and the relationship of those attitudes to draft probability. More draft-eligible men in the lowest probability category (draft numbers 245-366) advocated total troop withdrawal from indochina. This relationship was obtained in both experiments and for 3 different dates by which withdrawal should take place. However, the draft lottery was not random, and higher draft numbers were assigned to persons born in the 1st 1/2 of the year. In the 2nd experiment, the increased tendency to advocate total withdrawal was found only among draft-eligible men with numbers 245-366, with birthdates in the 1st 1/2 of the year. Results are discussed in terms of dissonance theory: the assignment of a draft number between 245 and 366 (a reward) by chance or because of a faulty randomization procedure was conceptualized as insufficient justification for the reward. Such dissonance could be reduced by advocating an end to the indochina war, thereby freeing more persons from the draft. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-126
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 1971


  • attitude toward troop withdrawal from Indochina, draft number, application of dissonance theory vs. self-interest, college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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