Cognitive Dissonance


Leon Festinger's Cognitive Dissonance Theory

If a person held two cognitions that were psychologically inconsistent,
s/he would experience dissonance; since dissonance is unpleasant,
s/he would attempt to reduce it much like one would attempt to
reduce hunger, thirst, or any drive.


Cognitive Dissonance Implications

- Forced compliance
- We come to like the things for which we suffer
- Threat of punishment


Freedman Study on Threat of Punishment

 Delay                             Large          Small
6 Weeks
    21/22     21/22
     5/22     14/22


Elliot Aronson's Reasons Why Dissonance Resolution Occurs

1) To preserve a consistent, stable, predictable sense of self
2) To preserve a competent sense of self
3) To preserve a morally good sense of self


Aronson, Fried, & Stone
Stone et al.--% Buying Condoms

                                                     Videotaped                Essay
Not Mindful
          82%           50%
          32%             44%

Factors Influencing Persuasion

Who says? (Communicator)
- credibility
- attractiveness

What is said? (Content)
- reason vs. emotion
- discrepancy
- one-sided vs. two-sided
- primacy vs. recency

How is it said? (Channel)
- active vs. passive
- personal vs. media

To whom is it said? (Audience)
- age
- what are they thinking?


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