Essay about Actions Caused by Cognitive Dissonance

Essay about Actions Caused by Cognitive Dissonance

Length: 915 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

“If I chose to do it or say it, I must believe in it.” asserts the psychologist Leon Festinger (as cited in Psychology: Eighth Edition in Modules, 2007, p.731). When we become aware that our actions contradict our attitudes, we tend to revise our attitudes. This statement fits Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory that asserts that we act to reduce discomfort or dissonance, an unpleasant tension, we experience when two of our thoughts or cognitions are inconsistent. Mkimmie, et al. (2003) investigated the impact of social support on cognitive dissonance arousal in their experiment, “I’m a Hypocrite, but So Is Everyone Else: Group Support and the Reduction of Cognitive Dissonance.” The psychologists aimed to test the impact of social support on dissonance by testing two hypotheses. While the results that were attained in the study are not more adequate to use than previous experiments, the hypothesis of Mkimmie et al. (2003) offers new insight into the cognitive dissonance theory. In addition, the theory highlights the importance of group-derived cognitions, a topic that has been often overlooked in subsequent research.
To conduct the experiment, the researchers first looked at previous theories and then extrapolated evidence from their results to develop a new theory about cognitive dissonance in a social context. The researchers assigned undergraduates between the ages of 17 and 23 to one of six controlled social conditions. All instructions and questions were presented to the participants in the form of a questionnaire. Within each social condition, the researchers attempted to manipulate group salience, hypocrisy, and behavioral support in stages so that attitude change and identification could be measured. After the exper...

... middle of paper ...

...s novel theory acknowledges that group support or lack there of, may affect cognitive dissonance. Furthermore, the experiment lays the groundwork from which other studies can explore the way that dissonance operates within social contexts. With a larger, more representative sample and a more direct way to obtain evidence of dissonance, future research may be able to prove or disprove the theory.
After analyzing, critiquing, and reflecting on the make-up of the “Group Support and the reduction of Cognitive Dissonance” theory, it is evident that the theory is not more adequate to use than the previous experiments on cognitive dissonance although it is useful for future research. On the other hand, the hypothesis offers new insight into how a group can affect cognitive dissonance. The study provides a foundation for future studies to test the often-overlooked topic.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay On Cognitive Dissonance

- Cognitive Dissonance Cognitive dissonance is a theory defined as “the discomfort people feel when two cognitions (beliefs, attitudes) conflict, or when they behave in ways that are inconsistent with their conception of themselves” (Aronson, 2016, pg. 158). This, in turn, causes discomfort that can be difficult to ease. Some basic ways to reduce cognitive dissonance are: Realign our behavior with the dissonant condition, justify our behavior by changing one of the dissonant behaviors, justify our behavior by adding additional cognitions....   [tags: Cognition, Cognitive dissonance, Psychology]

Better Essays
901 words (2.6 pages)

Validity Of Cognitive Dissonance Essay

- “I didn't want to do it..but then I did it”. A common phrase spoken by many who have experience cognitive dissonance. The Cognitive Dissonance theory deals with small occurrences that happen everyday, but for help with breaking down this theory, extreme examples help to explain the theory in better detail. In the movie Mean Girls, the plastics are evil & but their approval is what Cady desires which define her two conflicting beliefs. When she gets closer to them and acts like them, she tries to justify her action by saying she is just “spying” on them, this is said to reduce her cognitive dissonance, which in fact, she is turning into them....   [tags: Cognitive dissonance, When Prophecy Fails]

Better Essays
1566 words (4.5 pages)

Importance Of Cognitive Dissonance Essay

- Cognitive dissonance is widely regarded as a post decision theory, meaning that it’s constructs are enacted when individuals attempt to persuade themselves after a decision or course of action has already been carried out (Dainton & Zelley, 2015). This persuasion only occurs when the individual must confront the inconsistency between their actions and beliefs. Because this confrontation occurs within the individual, Cognitive Dissonance Theory is a psychological perspective. This means that different psychological variables will affect the behavior of the individual....   [tags: Cognitive dissonance, Cognition, Social psychology]

Better Essays
998 words (2.9 pages)

Taking a Look at Cognitive Dissonance Essay

- Imagine a person who is an avid animal lover and activist but also owns and wears a real fur jacket. These two beliefs and actions are inconsistent with each other and cause a distressing contradiction known as cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the distressing mental state caused by an inconsistency between a person’s two beliefs or a belief and an action (Griffin 2006). People have an instinctual desire to keep their actions and beliefs in harmony and when they are experiencing inconsistencies they deal with it by trying to reduce it....   [tags: inconsistencies between beliefs and/or actions]

Better Essays
1643 words (4.7 pages)

Essay on Cognitive Dissonance

- Cognitive dissonance can be described as the feeling of discomfort resulting from holding two conflicting beliefs. It can also be said to be the mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. A well-known psychologist Leon Festinger (1919–89), introduced this concept in the late 1950s where he proved that, when confronted with challenging new information; most people are observed to preserve their current understanding of the world by rejecting or avoiding the new information or by convincing themselves that no conflict really exists in one way or the other (Festinger, 04)....   [tags: Irrational Thoughts, Substance Abusers]

Better Essays
1619 words (4.6 pages)

Rational Choice versus Cognitive Dissonance Essay

- Rational Choice versus Cognitive Dissonance Introduction Rational choice theory can sufficiently explain terrorism, suicide bombing, and genocide by simply arguing that each act is the result of an individual making a choice to commit said acts simply because the benefits outweigh the costs. Rational choice theory, however, has a harder time explaining altruism without altering the definition of altruism itself. Cognitive dissonance can also explain terrorism, suicide bombing and genocide because it argues that an individual can reduce dissonance created by these acts in a variety of ways I will discuss later....   [tags: Terrorism, Suicide Bombing]

Better Essays
1636 words (4.7 pages)

Jean Piaget's Theory Of Cognitive Development Essay

- Akejah McLaughlin Professor Kline Lifespan Development 19 October 2017 Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget pioneered the clinical view of cognitive development, stressing that individuals construct their own knowledge through environmental, biological, and social interactions. To make sense of the world, children attain new information and skills by adapting to changes caused by a disequilibrium in their accustomed knowledge and experiences. Through four overlapping stages of growth, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development emphasizes the role of disequilibrium in infantile schemes, assimilation, and accommodation....   [tags: Jean Piaget, Theory of cognitive development]

Better Essays
1275 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Carol Travis and Elliot Aronson's Book Review: Justifying our Actions

- Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson have written a book that many people may find difficult to read. Why. Because it is like holding a mirror in front of one’s own face and looking into it. The book is about something most, if not all of us, have done: Justified our actions or words no matter how wrong they were. As Tavris and Aronson (2007) wrote in their book, “. . . most of us find it difficult, if not impossible to say, ‘I was wrong; I made a terrible mistake.’ The higher the stakes – emotional, financial, moral – the greater the difficulty.” Why is it so difficult for us to admit that we’re wrong....   [tags: self justification, hipocrisy, dissonance theory]

Better Essays
1152 words (3.3 pages)

The Vaccine War: Media Theory Essay

- Synopsis After watching The Vaccine War, the main concerns of vaccines are public safety, the aftermath of injecting harmful chemicals into ones’ body and the parents that choose not to vaccinate their children. In the beginning of the documentary, a mother, Jennifer Margulis, states she felt like it was not needed for her newborn child to be vaccinated for a sexual transmitted disease. She feels like the ingredients are scary for a young child to take in with an immature immune system. The other issue is a massive outbreak of disease that could have been prevented....   [tags: Public Safety, Cognitive Dissonance]

Better Essays
936 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Cognitive Dissonance In Culture

- Leon Festinger states that cognitive dissonance is the discomfort people feel when two cognitions such as beliefs, attitudes, or their behavior conflict with their conception of themselves. When dissonance arises people deal with it by changing the behavior, changing the thought, or adding a thought (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, & Sommers, 2017). Cognitive dissonance is supported on a neurological level. However, arises and is treated differently depending on the culture. We will venture into how cognitive dissonance is dealt with across cultures through post-choice dissonance, individual vs....   [tags: Cognitive dissonance, Individualism, Cognition]

Better Essays
871 words (2.5 pages)