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Cognitive Dissonance Theory

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on 3 October 2017

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Transcript of Cognitive Dissonance Theory

Leon Festinger
Stanford University
"Find themselves
doing things that don't fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold."

Terms Defined...
: discord between behavior and belief.
Cognitive Dissonance
: The distressing mental state caused by inconsistency between a person's two beliefs or a belief and an action.
Agreement/Congruity just as important as safety/satisfying hunger
Tex Williams, 1947
Reducing Dissonance Between Actions and Attitudes
Selective Exposure
: tendency to avoid information that is incompatible with our current beliefs.

Hypothesis 1:
Selective Exposure Prevents Dissonance

Noze Brothers and "The Rope."

Post-decision Dissonance
: Strong doubts experienced after making an important, close-call decision that is difficult to reverse.

Hypothesis 2
: Post-decision dissonance creates a need for
the longer the delay
more important the issue
greater difficulty in reversal
Core of the Theory
Theory focus:
the belief and attitude changes that take place because of cognitive dissonance.

Example: Dinner Party.
Dallas Cowboys Fandom
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Contradiction is clear and uncomfortable by the 1970's. Something has to give--either the use of cigarettes or the belief that smoking carries health risks
It must be glamorous...
Reducing Dissonance Between Actions and Attitudes
Taking exams
Reducing Dissonance Between Actions and Attitudes
Minimal Justification Hypothesis
: The best way to stimulate an attitude change in others is to offer just enough incentive to elicit counterattitudinal behavior.
Hypothesis 3
: Minimal justification for action induces a shift in attitude.
Your decision to
come to Baylor?

How Much Would it Take You to Lie?
Festinger's famous $1/$20 experiment
Counterattitudinal Advocacy
What differed?
The privately
after the study

$1: "I'm a Stanford man..."
Minimal incentives for inconsistent behavior cause a change in attitude while large rewards do not.
Revisions to Festinger's Original Theory
1.) Self Consistency: The Rationalizing Animal
2.) Personal Responsibility for Bad Outcomes
3.) Self-Affirmation to Dispute Dissonance
Overall dissonance arousal and reduction process
Revision 1
: Self Consistency: The Rationalizing Animal
UCal Social Psychologist, Elliot Aronson
"Conceptual Fuzziness"
Under which conditions will a person definitely experience dissonance?

Inconsistency vs.
Inconsistency. High Self-esteem= Tension
(U of Oregon Lynn Kahle's study)
2. Joel Cooper and
The "New-Look"
Also Believed that A doesn't always lead to B
More than self- consistency; it's knowledge that cause
unnecessary hurt
Personal responsibility=
know ahead of time your action will have negative consequences.
3. Steele and Self-Affirmation
Concerned with
back end
of model--the question of dissonance
We don't have to justify our actions by changing attitudes; instead, we can think positively.
If high self-esteem, we can use denial, forgetfulness, and trivialization in place of attitude change.
Is the theory falsifiable?
Dissonance thermometer. Is this distressing mental state real?
Too convoluted (lacks simplicity)
Self-perception theory
Achieved name recognition in popular culture.
Mass shootings, Cognitive Dissonance, and Gun Control
Why is cognitive dissonance happening?
How does selective exposure lessen it?
Is selective exposure dangerous?
On a lighter note...
Full transcript