This research sheds insight on the psychological impact of mixed emotions on attitudes. In three experiments, we show that persuasion appeals that highlight conflicting emotions (e.g., both happiness and sadness) lead to less favorable attitudes for individuals with a lower propensity to accept duality (e.g., Anglo Americans, younger adults) relative to those with a higher propensity (e.g., Asian Americans, older adults). The effect appears to be due to increased levels of felt discomfort that arise for those with a lower, but not higher, propensity to accept duality when exposed to mixed emotional appeals. Theoretical implications regarding boundary conditions of emotional dissonance and distinctions between emotional and cognitive dissonance are discussed.
For a synopsis see Booz & Company
Journal of Consumer Research Best Paper Award (over 3 years 1st runner up)