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cognitive dissonance theory

examples relationships among cognitions


bits of knowledge (attitude, behavior, belief)


cognitions follow from or fit with each other (equilibrium)


cognitions out of balance (disequilibrium)


cognitions imply nothing about one another(most cognitions)


humans desire consistency
dissonance is created by inconsistencies
dissonance motivates efforts to achieve consonance

factors including magnitude of dissonance

degree of importance
degree of ratio
personal rationale

coping w/ dissonance

change ration of consonant to dissonant cognitions
alter importance of dissonant cognitions
change info to make cognitions consistent

cognitive dissonance and perception

perception is based on selection

selective exposure

seeking consistent info not already present

selective attention

looking at consistent info once it is there

selective interpretation

interpreting ambiguous info so it becomes consistent

selective retention

remembering/learning consistent info more readily than inconsistent info


people say something in public that is inconsistent with what they think in private
-testability of the theory- difficult to falsify
-if the attitude didn't change, a researcher could just conclude that there must not have been any/sufficient dissonance
•alternate hypotheses can't be ruled out
-concept of dissonance may be confounded

post decision dissonance

strong doubts experienced after making an important close call decision that is difficult to reverse

minimal justification

best way to stimulate an attitude change in others is to offer just enough incentive to elicit counterattitudinal behavior

self consistency

dissonance exists if individuals behavior is inconsistent with self concept
consonance exists in individual behavior is consistent with self concept

personal responsibility

person kno ahead of time that his or her action will have negative consequences for some1 else and yet still choose 2 do negative action

self affirmation

high self esteem is a resource for dissonance reduction

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