Current Psychology

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 293–318 | Cite as

We think you agree: The detrimental impact of the false consensus effect on behavior

  • Kathleen P. Bauman
  • Glenn Geher


Two studies were designed to examine the impact of the false consensus effect on behavior (FCE; Ross, Greene, & House, 1977). False consensus is a form of social projection whereby individuals overestimate the degree to which others share their characteristics or beliefs. In a modified test of the theory of reasoned action, Study 1 demonstrated that the FCE independently predicts behavioral intentions regarding important social issues in a sample comprised of 205 college students. Further, results indicated that self-monitoring moderates the extent to which the FCE predicts behavioral intentions (specifically, as hypothesized, the FCE is a stronger predictor of behavior for high self-monitors). Because of the prevalence of the FCE among college students regarding potentially harmful social behaviors, Study 2 was designed to eliminate the FCE by differentially presenting students (N = 280) with alternative viewpoints regarding various issues. Presenting both sides of an argument using video-based stimuli effectively reduced the FCE. Recommendations for interventions that effectively promote beneficial social norms are discussed.


Social Norm Social Desirability Behavioral Intention Current Psychology Video Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen P. Bauman
    • 1
  • Glenn Geher
    • 2
  1. 1.University of MaineUSA
  2. 2.State University of New YorkNew Paltz

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