Cognitive Dissonance: Theory, Examples & How to Reduce It

In sociology the theory was stated mostly in terms of ‘status equilibrium’ and ‘status crystallization’ (Lenski 1961, 1964). Only a single monograph exists exploring the nature, accuracy, and utility of cross-pressure theory (Sperlich 1971). Most studies are unable to test such relations because they do not include all three elements noted in the previous paragraph, although there are a few exceptions (e.g., Kay, Jost, & Young, 2005, Study 1; Warner et al., 2012, Study 4).

cognitive dissonance theory

I still value not acting in a self-promoting way, so I feel dissonance about promoting my new book. However, if a person finds that they have difficulty stopping a behavior or thinking pattern that is causing them distress, they can seek support from a qualified healthcare professional, such as a primary care doctor or therapist. In his book “A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance,” Festinger proposed that two ideas can be consonant or dissonant. Considering the larger spectrum, cultural marginality could also be mentioned under the umbrella of the interpersonal level. According to Thorstein Veblen, the intellectual success of the Jews in Europe is related to their cultural marginality. Before his life in France, Picasso lived in Spain and kept his ties with his native country.

Cognitive Dissonance: 50 Years of a Classic Theory – Joel Cooper

Technological advances are allowing psychologists to study the biomechanics of cognitive dissonance. Despite the obstinance that these habits often produce in people, harnessing the innate aversion to inconsistency can act as a powerful means of persuasion. Recent research into hospital hygiene – an area we all rely on to be consistent – highlighted precisely this principle.

cognitive dissonance theory

For example, someone who smokes might surround themselves with other people who smoke instead of with people who have disapproving attitudes about cigarettes. In others words, people sometimes cope with feelings cognitive dissonance theory of dissonance by surrounding themselves in “echo chambers” where their opinions are supported and validated by others. Psychologist Leon Festinger first described the theory of cognitive dissonance in 1957.

Sign in to view more content

In all conditions, they then heard a very boring discussion about sex in lower animals. They were asked to rate how interesting they had found the discussion and how interesting they had found the people involved in it. In other words, they were more likely than participants in the other two conditions to increase the attractiveness of the chosen alternative and to decrease the attractiveness of the unchosen alternative. They were then paid either $1 or $20 to tell a waiting participant (a confederate) that the tasks were really interesting. Almost all of the participants agreed to walk into the waiting room and persuade the confederate that the boring experiment would be fun. In their laboratory experiment, they used 71 male students as participants to perform a series of dull tasks (such as turning pegs in a peg board for an hour).

These are just two examples of the paradoxical consequences of dissonance for persuasion (see the dissonance entry for more in-depth discussion). We are mainly concerned with three limitations that call into question the validity of the studies reviewed above as evidence of the aversive nature of dissonance. First, it is unclear if the emotion captured in these studies is really the theorized CDS or a confound with other negative emotions.

Dissonance Approaches

Is it a perception (as “cognitive” suggests), a feeling, or a feeling about a perception? Aronson’s Revision of the idea of dissonance as an inconsistency between a person’s self-concept and a cognition about their behavior makes it seem likely that dissonance is really nothing more than guilt. When there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors (dissonance), something must change to eliminate the dissonance.

  • Oak Park Study Group members were taught that on the eve of the cataclysm, an alien being from the planet Clarion would come to rescue the true believers from the fate that awaited humankind the next day.
  • Kunda and Thagard (1996) understand impression formation as a parallel constraint satisfaction problem, because the person needs to decipher and integrate perceived information into a network of preexisting knowledge concerning traits and behaviors.
  • Combined together, our two studies show that the CDS induced in the hypocrisy and counterattitudinal paradigms is first and foremost characterised by increased negative valence, as captured presently by the Pleasure dimension.
  • He might ease this feeling by telling himself that the health warning is exaggerated or, more productively, by deciding to take action to change his behavior.

Lastly, the discrepancy reduction phase related to dissonance reduction mechanisms. The concept of dissonance is predominantly related to the post-decision or post-purchase situation (Oliver, 2009). The research on this phase commonly focused on the impacts of post-purchase touchpoints on product or service evaluation (Cohen & Goldberg, 1970), satisfaction (Engel, 1963) intention to repurchase (Hunt, 1970) and the back-out rate (Donnelly & Ivancevich, 1970) of customers. Negative emotion was another concept that has been closely invested with cognitive dissonance.

Attitude Change Following Cognitive Dissonance

The feelings of being incomplete, ugly, and deficient among creatively active individuals are often replaced by sensations of completeness, adequacy, and strength through artworks. Martin S. Lindauer explained the stylistic changes of artists in the same way. Personal conflicts like physical or emotional handicaps are sometimes compensated for through artworks. The presence of grief, ordeal, pain, and irregularities in biographies of some creative people confirms this notion. There is a considerable literature and strong theoretical base underpinning the issue of incentives for survey participation (Dillman, Smyth & Christian, 2009; Sue & Ritter, 2007). Relevant theories are social exchange theory and cognitive dissonance theory.

In order to know the general attitudes of the students, participants were told that they would have to write an essay either in favour of or against an increase in tuition fees. In the Counter-attitudinal condition, all participants were told that they would have to write an essay in favour of an increase in inscription fees. In the Pro-attitudinal condition, participants could freely choose to write either in favour or opposing an increase.

Careers Inc - Recruitment Agency
Login to Careers Inc