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Chapter 7 Notes - Psych 3723

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Psychology 3723F/G
Olson James

Chapter 7 – Dissonance Theory Paradigms of Dissonance Research - Cohen, 1962 Dissonance Theory - Tested using several different research paradigms o Participants – Yale U students - Leon Festinger, 1957 - Paradigm = methodology o Wrote essay about disturbance that occurred on - Theory of how we rationalize our own behaviour campus - Ea. paradigm involves getting participants to do something that arouses dissonance o Police responded aggressively to disturbance - Addresses relations b/w pairs of different cognitions in an individual’s mind Induced Compliance Paradigm o Almost all students condemned police o Any two cognitions can be considered - Ask participants to do something that is inconsistent w/ their o Asked to write counterattitudinal essay attitudes (counterattiduinal behaviour) - Festinger especially interested in cases where one cognition refers to our own behaviour and the other cognition concerns - Include participants to comply w/ experiment’s requests  Paid 50¢, $1, $5, or $10 the value of that behaviour o After writing essay, participants were asked to - In ea. case, prediction from dissonance theory is: report their own attitudes toward police actions o I did x o Participants who perform a counterattitudinal o x is irrational, bad, useless, wrong, etc... behaviour will feel dissonance unless there is a o Did they become favourable toward police in order to reduce dissonance created by writing the essay strong justification for them to perform the act - Two cognitions can be consonant (constant cognition) o Results? o Consistent w/ one another - Strong justification can mean:  Smaller incentive resulted in more attitude change (dissonance reduction) o Support ea. other o Paid substantial amount of money o Feels good – we like constant cognitions o Given no choice but to perform act (experimenter  Contrasts w/ reinforcement models, told them to do it) which would predict that paying someone a LOT to write essay should - Two cognitions can be dissonant motivate them to adopt that position o High Dissonance more than less money o Inconsistent w/ one another  I believe X o Logically discrepant o Dissonance finding is a “reverse incentive effect” and generated a lot of interest b/c conflicted w/  I acted not-X dominant view in psych o Feels bad – we dislike dissonance o Low Dissonance (strong incentive provides - Creates unpleasant feelings; tension, aversive arousal, - Induced compliance changes attitudes most when: consonant cognition) embarrassment o Extrinsic justification or incentive = minimal  I was paid $20 for acting not-X o We try to reduce dissonance o Freedom of choice to perform behaviour is  I was ordered to act not-X emphasized - How can we reduce dissonance? - Under conditions of high dissonance, participants are usually  Having no choice would mean that o Change one of the dissonant cognitions expected to change one of the dissonant cognition – most there were good reasons for action o Add new consonant cognition often the one related to a belief or attitude, because it is difficult to deny one’s behaviour o Aversive consequences of behaviour - Participants make choice b/w 2 equally attractive alternatives o Median split used to classify as high or low  Absence of aversive consequences would mean behaviour doesn’t matter commitment - “i chose optionA” but “option B is attractive” Effort Justification Paradigm o Results? - Postdecisional Dissonance - Set up a situation in which participants exert a lot of effort to  Participants more committed to current get something that may not be worthwhile - Individual motivated to justify choice partner appeared to derogate attractive alternative partners, presumably to - Individual motivated to justify effort - Can lead to spreading of alternatives reduce dissonance about not pursuing those alternatives - Prediction from dissonance theory is: o OptionA(chosen) becomes even more attractive and Option B (rejected) becomes less attractive Hypocrisy Paradigm o More effort participants expend to achieve a goal, the more they will be motivated to rate the goal as - Say one thing, do another important and valuable - Factors that influence the amount of postdecisional dissonance; - Get participants to make public commitment to a desirable - Turner & Bennington, 1975 o Importance of decision goal o Participants = people taking part in walkathon - Remind participant of his/her own failures to pursue/achieve  More important = more dissonance goal o 26 miles o Difficulty of decision - Individual motivated to reduce feeling of hypocrisy/dissonance o Random samples of walkers interviewed at:  More difficult = more dissonance - One way to reduce dissonance is to change hypocritical  0, 8, 17, 26 miles o Similarity of features of alternatives behaviour o Asked to rate importance of two categories of - Prediction from dissonance theory:  More similar = less dissonance reasons for their participants o Participants who are induced to feel hypocritical - Johnson & Rusbult, 1989  Personal about the inconsistency b/w their public advocacy
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