23 October 2014
Jerry Sandusky was once seen in the eyes of many as a well-respected individual, and an astounding assistant coach for the Penn State University football team. Once the scandal arose of him sexually abusing children, eventually leading to his conviction of sexual harassment crimes, his whole reputation and all that he had worked for his entire coaching career was lost. No one could really grasp what had occurred at first, especially those who worked with him, for so many years he was seen as such a remarkable coach, person, and as a role model for young people. Tavris and Aronson state in their book, Mistakes Were Made ...view middle of the document...
As reported by Justin Cascio in his article from the web page entitled The Good Men Project, he states that, “Sadly, the administrators who were notified worked only to cover up the crime and minimize the harm that their resident child molester—and beloved football coach—could do—but only what he did on campus.” The cognitive dissonance caused by believing that the Penn State coaching staff was so respectable and moral, but also believing the accounts of Sandusky’s attacks on boys, made the administrators make a decision on what needed to happen. Even though those who knew of this incident were of high ranking in the Penn State system and seen as morally right people who knew the difference between what is right and wrong, they chose not to do the right thing in this instance. They went against their own moral integrity and ultimately sacrificed their own reputation in order to save not only Sandusky’s, but the reputation of Penn State too.
Why did individuals who seem to have such high morals try and save this man when all things pointed to not only very wrong behavior, but of illegal actions as well? Tavris and Aronson write, “If the new information is consonant with our beliefs, we think it is well founded and useful: “Just what I always said!” But if the new information is dissonant, then we consider it biased or foolish: “What a dumb argument!” So powerful is the need for consonance that when people are forced to look at disconfirming evidence, they will find a way to criticize, distort, or dismiss it so that they can maintain or even strengthen their existing belief. This mental contortion is called the confirmation bias” (18). Confirmation bias is the tendency for us to favor information that confirms our preconceptions, even if the information isn’t correct. We gather information selectively and recall it from memory selectively, and we interpret information to favor our preconceptions. Sandusky represents all things that Penn State stands for and its overall astonishing history as a prestigious institution and the people in charge who hired him believe he is such an amazing individual overall. When the people in authority at Penn State were brought this information pertaining to the incidences with Sandusky the information simply went in one ear and out the other. It was just too hard to even fathom that this could have happened with someone like Jerry Sandusky.
In order to...