Issue Analysis: Cognitive Dissonance
April 22, 2013
Dr. Keisha Anthony
Issue Analysis: Cognitive Dissonance
“Festinger's (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance)” (McLeod, 2008). Issue 5: Does Cognitive Dissonance Explain Why Behavior Can Change Attitudes debates the cognitive dissonance theory with one of the authors challenging the theory by claiming that self-perception is a better explanation as to why people behave differently once they have acted outside of their norm as most people try to find some sort of consistency between their actions and ...view middle of the document...
If any person must speak publicly for any reason that goes against their own private belief, they will definitely feel uncomfortable. However, when offered a reward, the comfort levels can change. If someone offers the speaker a large reward, the speaker will feel more comfort in changing their attitude about the ideas or beliefs being said, even when they don’t believe them. If someone offers the speaker a small reward, the speaker will feel more discomfort because they do not feel there was justification in what they are being rewarded and will have more of a negative attitude than those being greater rewarded.
The opposed position is presented by Psychologist Daryl Bem. Bem (1967) disputes Festinger and Carlsmith position by using the self-perception theory. Developed by Daryl Bem the self-perception theory is the idea that attitudes develop or changed by one viewing their own behavior and concludes certain attitudes as the cause. Psychologist Bem believes that self-perception theory can explain the results of Festinger’s study better than cognitive dissonance theory (Bem DJ, 1967).
Define consonant and dissonant cognitions
Consonant and dissonant cognitions are closely related as one is the opposite of the other. Consonant cognitions occur when an individual is engaged in behavior that matches the way they think as well as the beliefs they have in regard to that particular behavior (Plum, 2013). An example of cognitive consonance is when someone who emphasizes financial security gets into a relationship with someone who also believes in financial security. Dissonant cognitions on the other hand are the uncomfortable feelings that one gets when they experience conflicting beliefs in regard to a certain behavior. An example of this is when someone who is a follower of financial security gets involved with someone who is very irresponsible with their finances. In this case, the dissonance has to be reduced either by the follower of financial stability leaving the relationship or reducing on their emphasis for financial stability (Cherry, 2013). Cognitive dissonance therefore creates a sense of discomfort that can only be fixed when the person returns to cognitive consonance.
In a study on heterogeneous development of cognitive dissonance over time, it was realized that products that are more expensive tend to attract post-purchase dissonance. The desire to read literature and be able to purchase it is inversely related to cognitive dissonance. This is both at the purchase time and also after the item is purchased (Koller, & Salzberger, 2012). Therefore cognitive dissonance plays an important role in judgment and decision making.
Influence that Consonant and Dissonant Cognitions have on Attitudes and Behavior
Individuals often seek to maintain consistency in their beliefs and perceptions. A major influence on attitude change is the desire to maintain consistency between ones attitudes and behaviors. In order to maintain consistency...