When actions reflect attitudes: The politics of impression management

Mark Snyder, William B. Swann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


A conceptual formulation of the determinants of correspondence between attitudes and behavior suggests that social environments differ in the extent to which they provide salient and relevant "attitudinal" and "situational" guides to action. Experimental situations were constructed that differed in the extent to which interpersonal cues to situational appropriateness were available and/or relevant attitudes were made salient. 120 male college students formulated judgments of liability in a sex-discrimination court case. In this basic situation, verdicts were generally unfavorable to the female plaintiff and uncorrelated (.07) with previously reported attitudes. When attitudes toward affirmative action were made salient, covariation (.58) between favorability of verdicts toward the female plaintiff and previously measured attitudes was substantial. Participants who anticipated discussing their verdicts with a disagreeing partner adopted a "moderation" strategy and reached decisions favorable to neither the plaintiff nor the defendant. Their verdicts were uncorrelated with their personal stands on affirmative action, whether or not attitudes had been made salient (.14 and.06, respectively). (32 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1034-1042
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1976


  • relevant attitudinal &
  • salient &
  • situational guides to action, judgments of liability in sex discrimination court case, male college students


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