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PSYC 2120 Study Guide - Cult, Cognitive Dissonance, Simple Features

Course Code
PSYC 2120
Doug Mc Cann

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Chapter 7
rationalization constitutes a form of self persuasion, whereby people convince themselves that
their decisions or actions are justified
persuasion refers to attitude change that results from a communication initiated by someone else
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
cognitions: a belief or piece of knowledge
awareness of consonant cognitions makes us feel good, whereas awareness of dissonant
cognitions makes us feel bad; the unpleasant feeling produced by dissonant cognitions motivate
us to do something to change our state
consonant cognitions: beliefs that are consistent or compatible with one another
dissonant cognitions: beliefs that are inconsistent or logically discrepant with one another
Festinger focused on knowing that you behaved in a certain way and another piece of
knowledge implying that your behaviour was wrong or illogical
dissonance: feeling bad or conflicted about one's own irrational behaviour; a state of arousal
The Reduction of Dissonance
reducing dissonance must somehow involve making the irrational behaviour seem rational
rationalization: convincing ourselves that our current or past behaviour made sense (Self
reduce dissonance by changing one of the dissonant cognitions directly(changing I smoke to I
do not smoke)
adding cognitions, these cognitions support the person's behaviour and make it seem more
reasonable (smoking keeps my weight down)
dissonance can be reduced by reducing the importance of one of the dissonant cognitions and/or
increasing the importance of one of the consonant cognitions
reducing “smoking causes cancer” or increasing “smoking is enjoyable”
Induced Compliance: Dissonance from counter-attitudinal behaviour
to capture dissonance a researcher must elicit behaviour from participants that they will
percieve as irrational or inappropriate
counter-attitudinal behaviour: behaviour that is counter to or inconsistent with an individuals
attitudes, values, or beliefs
induced compliance paradigm: arouses dissonance by getting people to engage in counter-
attitudinal behaviour. Participants are induced to comply with an experimenters request that
they behave in a way that is inconsistent with their attitudes
this paradigm often involves getting people to say something untrue or asking them to generate
arguements against a position they personally support read page 244
Effort Justification: Dissonance from wasted Effort
dissonance theory predicts that people who suspect they have wasted effort will be motivated to
change one of the dissonant cognition or to add consonant cognitions
might change the cognition about having gained nothing, deciding the payoff was worthwwhile
might add consonant cognitions, deciding they learned an important lesson or benefited in some
effort justification paradigm: arouses dissonance by getting people to invest time or energy to
achieve a goal that may not be worthwhile, predicting that prticipants would reduce dissonance
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by convncing themselves the goal was worthwhile
we are motivated to come to like or value things we have invested time and effort to attain
Free Choice: Dissonance from making a decision
decisions always involve choosing from alternatives
decisions always involve a chosen option and a rejected option
post decisional dissonance: dissonance after making a decision
experience this because chosen option will usually have some negative features and the rejected
option will usually have positive features
free choice paradigm: arouses dissonance by getting people to choose between two or more
evaluations of the alternatives are assessed before and after making the decision
people reduce dissonance by focusing on the positive features of the chosen option and the
negative features of the rejected option
spreading of the alternatives: tendency to rate the chosen option more favoourably and the
rejected option unfavourably after a decision has been made; evaluations of the chosen and
rejected items are spread further apart
Self-perception Theory
people logically infer their attitudes from their behaviour and the circumstances in which the
behaviour occurred, without the occurrence of any arousal
using behaviour to infer internal states is presumed to occur mainly when the internal states are
weak or ambiguous
Impression Management Theory
that participants in dissonance experiments want to appear consistent to the experimenter and
therefore lie about their attitudes
participants try to manage the experimenters impression of them, and report attitudes that are
not genuine
research participants want experimenters to view them positively
Self-affirmation Theory
people are threatened by behaviour that challenges their self-worth and can deal with this threat
by reaffirming their value or worth as individuals
counter-attitudinal behaviour threatens peoples view of themselves as honest and intelligent
people want to view themselves as moral, capable individuals
change cognition( I did not lie) or reaffirm self-worth (do something honest or good)
The hypocrisy paradigm
used to test dissonance; arouses dissonance by having people publicly promote a socially
desirable behaviour and then be made aware that they have not always exhibited the behaviour
themselves in the past
“I publicly recommended buying canadian made goods” and “I sometimes fail to buy Canadian
made goods”
dissonance aroused by hypocrisy would motivate individuals to change their behaviour to be
more consistent with what they publicly promoted
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