We will look at the main findings to have emerged from each area. Forced compliance occurs when an individual performs an action that is inconsistent with his or her beliefs. This prediction has been tested experimentally: In an intriguing experiment, Festinger and Carlsmith asked participants to perform a series of dull tasks such as turning pegs in a peg board for an hour. Aim Festinger and Carlsmith investigated if making people perform a dull task would create cognitive dissonance through forced compliance behavior. Method In their laboratory experiment, they used 71 male students as participants to perform a series of dull tasks such as turning pegs in a peg board for an hour. Almost all of the participants agreed to walk into the waiting room and persuade the confederate that the boring experiment would be fun.
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We will look at the main findings to have emerged from each area. Forced compliance occurs when an individual performs an action that is inconsistent with his or her beliefs. This prediction has been tested experimentally: In an intriguing experiment, Festinger and Carlsmith asked participants to perform a series of dull tasks such as turning pegs in a peg board for an hour.
Aim Festinger and Carlsmith investigated if making people perform a dull task would create cognitive dissonance through forced compliance behavior.
Method In their laboratory experiment, they used 71 male students as participants to perform a series of dull tasks such as turning pegs in a peg board for an hour. Almost all of the participants agreed to walk into the waiting room and persuade the confederate that the boring experiment would be fun. They could only overcome that dissonance by coming to believe that the tasks really were interesting and enjoyable.
Decision Making Decision Making Life is filled with decisions, and decisions as a general rule arouse dissonance. For example, suppose you had to decide whether to accept a job in an absolutely beautiful area of the country, or turn down the job so you could be near your friends and family. Either way, you would experience dissonance. If you took the job you would miss your loved ones; if you turned the job down, you would pine for the beautiful streams, mountains, and valleys.
Both alternatives have their good points and bad points. The rub is that making a decision cuts off the possibility that you can enjoy the advantages of the unchosen alternative, yet it assures you that you must accept the disadvantages of the chosen alternative. People have several ways to reduce dissonance that is aroused by making a decision Festinger, One thing they can do is to change the behavior.
As noted earlier, this is often very difficult, so people frequently employ a variety of mental maneuvers. A common way to reduce dissonance is to increase the attractiveness of the chosen alternative and to decrease the attractiveness of the rejected alternative.
This is referred to as "spreading apart the alternatives. Method Female participants were informed they would be helping out in a study funded by several manufacturers. Participants were also told that they would receive one of the products at the end of the experiment to compensate for their time and effort.
The products included an automatic coffee maker, an electric sandwich grill, an automatic toaster, and a portable radio. Participants in the control group were simply given one of the products. Because these participants did not make a decision, they did not have any dissonance to reduce. Individuals in the low-dissonance group chose between a desirable product and one rated 3 points lower on an 8-point scale.
Participants in the high-dissonance condition chose between a highly desirable product and one rated just 1 point lower on the 8-point scale. After reading the reports about the various products, individuals rated the products again. Findings Participants in the high-dissonance condition spread apart the alternatives significantly more than did the participants in the other two conditions.
In other words, they were more likely than participants in the other two conditions to increase the attractiveness of the chosen alternative and to decrease the attractiveness of the unchosen alternative. Effort Effort It also seems to be the case that we value most highly those goals or items which have required considerable effort to achieve.
This is probably because dissonance would be caused if we spent a great effort to achieve something and then evaluated it negatively. To reduce this dissonance, we are motivated to try to think that the task turned out well. A classic dissonance experiment by Aronson and Mills demonstrates the basic idea.
Aim To investigate the relationship between dissonance and effort. Method Female students volunteered to take part in a discussion on the psychology of sex. In the control condition, they went straight into the main study. In all conditions, they then heard a very boring discussion about sex in lower animals. They were asked to rate how interesting they had found the discussion, and how interesting they had found the people involved in it.
Conclusion If a voluntary experience which has cost a lot of effort turns out badly, dissonance is reduced by redefining the experience as interesting. This justifies the effort made. How is cognitive dissonance resolved? Dissonance can be reduced in one of three ways: a changing existing beliefs, b adding new beliefs, or c reducing the importance of the beliefs.
Change one or more of the attitudes, behavior, beliefs, etc. When one of the dissonant elements is a behavior, the individual can change or eliminate the behavior. However, this mode of dissonance reduction frequently presents problems for people, as it is often difficult for people to change well-learned behavioral responses e. Acquire new information that outweighs the dissonant beliefs. For example, thinking smoking causes lung cancer will cause dissonance if a person smokes. Reduce the importance of the cognitions i.
A person could convince themself that it is better to "live for today" than to "save for tomorrow. Critical Evaluation Critical Evaluation There has been a great deal of research into cognitive dissonance, providing some interesting and sometimes unexpected findings. It is a theory with very broad applications, showing that we aim for consistency between attitudes and behaviors, and may not use very rational methods to achieve it.
It has the advantage of being testable by scientific means i. However, there is a problem from a scientific point of view, because we cannot physically observe cognitive dissonance, and therefore we cannot objectively measure it re: behaviorism.
Consequently, the term cognitive dissonance is somewhat subjective. There is also some ambiguity i. There are also individual differences in whether or not people act as this theory predicts.
Highly anxious people are more likely to do so. Many people seem able to cope with considerable dissonance and not experience the tensions the theory predicts. Finally, many of the studies supporting the theory of cognitive dissonance have low ecological validity. Also, the majority of experiments used students as participants, which raise issues of a biased sample.
Could we generalize the results from such experiments? Cognitive dissonance. Simply Psychology. The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59 2 , Brehm, J. Postdecision changes in the desirability of alternatives. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 52 3 , Festinger, L. A Theory of cognitive dissonance. Some attitudinal consequences of forced decisions.
Acta Psychologica, 15, Conflict, decision, and dissonance Vol. Stanford University Press. Cognitive consequences of forced compliance. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58 2 ,
First published in Journal of Abnormal and Social. The Following article by Leon Festinger edit pdf documents in word online and ames M. The hypothesis being tested is a simple yet powerful. Festinger, L, Carlsmith, J.
Festinger and Carlsmith 1959 PDF