Q3L04 - Cognitive Dissonance
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  • 1. QUICK SURVEY
  • 2. Questions
    Rate the following statements on a Likert scale (1) strongly disagree(2) disagree(3) neither agree or disagree(4) agree(5) strongly agree
  • 3. 1. World hunger is a serious problem that needs attention.
  • 4. 2. Our country needs to address the growing number of homeless.
  • 5. 3. Sleep, exercise and a healthy diet is key for one’s well-being.
  • 6. 4. Green bags at grocery stores will help the environment in the long run
  • 7. 5. Our government should spend more money on more buses and routes in Canberra
  • 8. 6. The public needs better understanding of mental health issues in order to reduce stigma
  • 9. 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 protests/marches)?
    6. Do you personally do anything to help promote community understanding of mental health issues (e.g. volunteer for Lifeline, etc)
  • 10. How did these inconsistencies make you feel??
  • 11. CHANGING ATTITUDES:COGNITIVE DISSONANCE
  • 12. Definition
    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)
  • 13. Leon Festinger
    Proposed that we seek harmony in our attitudes, beliefs and behaviour and that we try to reduce tension from inconsistency between these elements.
    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 cognitions.
    Dissonance has physiological consequences – changes in the electrical conductivity of the skin that can be detected by a polygraph
  • 14. The greater the dissonance, the stronger the attempts to reduce it
  • 15. 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 and 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 been.
  • 16. Results
    Those in the $1 group rated the task as interesting, but those in the $20 group reported it as boring ($0 group even more so).
    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 $1???
  • 17.
  • 18. Effort Justification
    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.
  • 19. Results
    The group given obscenities rated the group discussion and the other group members as more interesting than those in the mild or control conditions.
    WHY?
    Hypothesis was that the act of volunteering for embarrassment should cause dissonance. The liking for the chosen option should increase because the choice entailed suffering.
  • 20. In Sum
    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 Festingerproposed that we seek harmony between the differences by changing one or more of the inconsistent cognitions
    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 goal.