• Rate the following statements on a
(1) strongly disagree
(3) neither agree or disagree
(5) strongly agree
1. World hunger is a serious
problem that needs attention.
2. Our country needs to
address the growing number
3. Sleep, exercise and a
healthy diet is key for one’s
4. Green bags at grocery
stores will help the
environment in the long run
5. Our government should
spend more money on more
buses and routes in Canberra
6. The public needs better
understanding of mental
health issues in order to
Answer Yes/No for the following questions
• 1. Do you personally do anything to lessen world hunger (e.g.,
donate money or food)?
• 2. Do you personally do anything to help the homeless (e.g.,
volunteer at a homeless shelter or donate money)?
• 3. Do you ensure that you have the required hours of sleep
each night, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet?
• 4. Do you bring your own green bag or shopping bag when
you go shopping?
• 5. Do you personally convey your feelings to the government
(e.g., by writing your representative or by participating in
• 6. Do you personally do anything to help promote community
understanding of mental health issues (e.g. volunteer for
• An unpleasant state of psychological tension
generated when a person has two or more
cognitions (thoughts, attitudes, beliefs or states of
awareness of behaviour) that are inconsistent or do
not fit together.
• E.g. If a person believes that monogamy is an
important feature of marriage and yet is having an
affair, he/she may experience a measure of guilt
and discomfort (dissonance)
• Proposed that we seek harmony in our
attitudes, beliefs and behaviour and
that we try to reduce tension from
inconsistency between these
• Theory holds that people will try to
reduce dissonance by changing one
or more of the inconsistent cognitions
by looking for additional evidence to
support one side or the other, or by
derogating the source of one of the
• Dissonance has physiological
consequences – changes in the
electrical conductivity of the skin that
can be detected by a polygraph
The greater the dissonance,
the stronger the attempts to
Festinger’s 1959 experiment
• Induced compliance – a special
case of cognitive dissonance:
inconsistency is experienced when a
person is persuaded to behave in a
way that is contrary to an attitude
• 1) Students were given a very boring
task (turning wooden pegs round
• 2) Then bribed them $1, $20 or $0 to
go and persuade another student
that the task had been really
interesting and to be on call to help
again at some time in the future.
• He then got the students to rate how
interesting they thought the task had
• Those in the $1 group rated the
task as interesting, but those in
the $20 group reported it as
boring ($0 group even more
• This can be explained by
cognitive dissonance because
lying to the other student
created dissonance ("I am
truthful" vs "I just told a lie")
• The $1 students managed to
persuade themselves that they
hadn't lied and the task had
been interesting, just to get rid
of the dissonance.
• i.e. $20 person could explain
their lie with the thought ‘I
did it for the $20’. It must
have been a lousy task
indeed.’ = no dissonance
• $1 person had the dilemma:
‘I’ve done a really boring
task, then told someone else
that it is interesting, and
even agreed to come back
and do it again for a measly
• Inconsistency is experienced when a person makes a
considerable effort to achieve a modest goal.
• Aronson and Mills (1959) study –
• Female students volunteered for a group discussion about sex.
• Told they must pass a screening process for their capacity to
speak frankly (except control group).
• One group – given obscenities and explicit sexual descriptions
to read aloud.
• Other group – milder words (‘petting’ and ‘prostitution’).
• After initiation, they listened to a group discussion believing
they would join in the following week.
• Discussion was tame, boring, mumbled and incoherent.
• The group given
obscenities rated the
group discussion and
the other group
members as more
interesting than those in
the mild or control
• Hypothesis was that the
act of volunteering for
cause dissonance. The
liking for the chosen
option should increase
because the choice
• Cognitive dissonance is an unpleasant state of
psychological tension generated when a person has two or
more cognitions that are inconsistent or do not fit together.
• Leon Festinger proposed that we seek harmony between
the differences by changing one or more of the
• Induced compliance – a special case of cognitive
dissonance when a person is persuaded to behave in a
way that is contrary to an attitude
• Effort Justification - Inconsistency is experienced when a
person makes a considerable effort to achieve a modest