The function and maintenance of illusions were explored. Three groups were selected by comparing perceived risk for contracting an STD or becoming pregnant with reported sexual behaviors: realistic low risk (n = 33), realistic high risk (n = 23), and illusional low risk (n = 16). Illusional subjects tended to avoid exposure to risk information, deny its relevance, and experience no increase in negative affect when confronted with contraceptive information. In contrast, high-risk subjects expressed interest in viewing contraceptive information, acknowledged its relevance and, among women, experienced an increase in negative affect after viewing the information. Avoidance and denial were ego-protective, primarily for illusional subjects. Implications for research on the self-regulatory effects of illusional beliefs are discussed.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||Journal of Applied Social Psychology|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1997|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology