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Festinger (1957) hypothesized that cognitive dissonance would be aroused postdecision and that the more weighty the choice, the greater the dissonance. His first hypothesis has been supported in racetrack betting and in guessing contests; however, no attempt was made to test the hypothesis that the greater the stakes, the greater the dissonance. In addition to replicating the Knox and Inkster 1968 racetrack betting study, this research focused on the size of the bet and the amount of confidence expressed. 129 Charleston, West Virginia racetrack bettors recorded their confidence in winning shortly before or immediately after placing bets smaller or greater than $5.00. Chi-squared analyses indicated that postdecision dissonance occurred, but a two-sample t test indicated no significant relationship between size of the bet and bettors' confidence. Possible reasons for the lack of support are discussed.


Originally published as: Stevick, R. A., Martin, K., & Showalter, L. (1991). Importance of decision and postdecision dissonance: a return to the racetrack. Psychological Reports, 69, 420–422.

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