The direction of their linkage is slightly less clear
Social psychologists originally thought what you believe about something drives
your behaviour in relation to that thing, but essentially your behaviour causes your
Dissonance means a feeling of discomfort or unpleasant tension.
When you behave in a way that is not in line with your attitudes, you feel
dissonance as a result. We then change are attitudes to match our behaviour so that
we no longer feel this way.
Ex. You feel negatively about gays and lesbians, but you believe in freedom. These
two attitudes are in conflict, and you feel dissonance, so one of the attitudes must
go. You can change your attitude because you cannot change the behaviour, or you
can reappraise the situation, such that your behaviour is no longer incongruent
with your attitudes (overjustification effect).
Method: They did this boring peg turning task; turn knobs for 45 minutes.
Afterwards, the experimenter has randomly assigned you to one of three
experiments. He will say that I will give you $20 when you leave if you tell the next
participant that the experiment was totally fun. To the next third he said almost the
same thing, only it was $1. The control group was just thanked for participating.
Results: One week later, the ones that lied were called and asked how enjoyable the
experiment was. They were given a -3 to +3 scale, and what had happened was they
were saying on average that it was boring. In the $1 condition, people said that it
was quite enjoyable. The control said it was alright. The $20 condition said it was
not enjoyable. If you can reappraise your behaviour, you no longer feel dissonance.
The $1 condition did not have much to lie about, so to make up for the guilt they
changed their attitude to suit what they had lied about.
If you think about it in a different way, then you won`t feel emotional anymore.
They took children who liked to colour, and they gave them rewards for colouring or
not given awards for colouring. Later on, those who were given rewards did not
enjoy colouring anymore (extrinsic motivation) and believed they were only doing it
for the reward as opposed to actually liking the activity.