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PSYC 2120
Doug Mc Cann

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 persuasion) – 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 way – 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 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 alternatives – 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 Individual Differences in Preferences for Consistency preference for consistency (PFC): a disposition that represents the extent to which people desire predictability and consistency within their own responses and within others responses Dissonance and explicit vs. Implicit Attitudes explicit attitudes: refer to peoples conscious evaluations of a target implicit attitudes: refer to peoples automatic evaluative responses to a target, which can occur without awareness Information Based Persuasion: Cognitive Response Theory – a model of persuasion that assumes that the impact of a message on attitudes depends on the thoughts evoked by the me
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