Perspective Taking and Self-Persuasion: Why “Putting Yourself in Their Shoes” Reduces Openness to Attitude Change

Rhia Catapano*, Zakary L. Tormala, Derek D. Rucker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Counterattitudinal-argument generation is a powerful tool for opening people up to alternative views. On the basis of decades of research, it should be especially effective when people adopt the perspective of individuals who hold alternative views. In the current research, however, we found the opposite: In three preregistered experiments (total N = 2,734), we found that taking the perspective of someone who endorses a counterattitudinal view lowers receptiveness to that view and reduces attitude change following a counterattitudinal-argument-generation task. This ironic effect can be understood through value congruence: Individuals who take the opposition’s perspective generate arguments that are incongruent with their own values, which diminishes receptiveness and attitude change. Thus, trying to “put yourself in their shoes” can ultimately undermine self-persuasion. Consistent with a value-congruence account, this backfire effect is attenuated when people take the perspective of someone who holds the counterattitudinal view yet has similar overall values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-435
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Science
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Keywords

  • attitude change
  • open data
  • open materials
  • perspective taking
  • persuasion
  • preregistered
  • receptiveness
  • resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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