Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Scott Eidelman

Committee Member

Anastasia Makhanova

Second Committee Member

Bill Levine


abortion attitudes, attitude change, persuasion, political psychology


Previous research suggests that highlighting the gap between inconsistent values can result in long-term attitude change (Rokeach, 1971), that feeling hypocritical might prompt pro-attitudinal behavior (e.g., Dickerson et al., 1992), and that a reactance decoy makes participants more receptive to subsequent persuasive messages (Schumpe et al., 2020). Drawing from these findings, the purpose of the present study was to investigate whether the impact of induced hypocrisy on pro-life abortion attitudes, an attitude commonly grounded in the value of freedom, depended on a reactance decoy. Consistent with Aronson et al.’s paradigm (1991), participants first publicly advocated for the importance of personal freedom. They were then randomly assigned to read a reactance decoy passage either on gun control (decoy) or daily habits (control). After reading the passage, participants were randomly assigned to complete a freedom questionnaire, either with (hypocrisy) or without (control) an item on whether people should have the freedom to get an abortion. Finally, participants completed a demographic questionnaire. Results indicated that there was not a significant interaction between the hypocrisy and decoy conditions, and that there were also no main effects. Exploratory analyses revealed that more negative abortion attitudes were associated with increased religiosity, attitude certainty about one’s opinion on abortion, and conservatism, as well as decreased trait empathy levels. Limitations, such as inadequate sample size and underpowered analyses, are discussed.