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PSY220H1 (200)
Chapter 7

Chapter 7

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University of Toronto St. George
Jennifer Fortune

Chapter 7 Attitude Change RATIONALIZING OUR OWN BEHAVIOUR COGNITIVE DISSONANCE THEORYZimbardo studyyoung men asked to eat a fried grasshopper either by a polite experimenter or an arrogantcold experimenter 50 in each condition ate a grasshopper y Unpleasant experimenter produced more favourable ratings they said the insect was better than those from the polite experimenter Feeling Bad About Irrational Behaviour The Arousal of DissonanceCognitive dissonance theorymodel proposed by Leon Festinger states that awareness of consonant cognitions makes us feel good whereas awareness of dissonant cognitions makes us feel bad Further the unpleasant feelings produced by dissonant cognitions motivates us to do something to change our state y Consonant cognitionsbeliefs that are consistent or compatible with one anotherex I brush my teeth twice a day and tooth brushing prevents cavities support one anothery Dissonant cognitionsbeliefs that are inconsistent or logically discrepant with one anotherI smoke and smoking causes cancer are logically discrepant Festinger focused on dissonance bw knowing you behave or have behaved in a certain way and another piece of knowledge implying your behaviour was wrongillogicalinappropriate Dissonance is defined as the state of feeling badconflicted about ones own irrational behaviour Making Irrational Behaviour Rational The Reduction of DissonanceDissonance reduction must involve rationalization convincing ourselves that our current or past behaviour made sense after all make the irrational behaviour seem rationalPeople try to reduce dissonance by y Changing one of the dissonant cognitions directlyfor the smoking example above either dont smoke or decide researchon smoking isnt definitivewont affect you y Adding consonant cognitions the cognitions support the persons behaviour and make it seem more reasonableex smoking is enjoyable or smoking keeps my weight down y Reducing the importance of one of the dissonant cognitions andor increasing the importance of one of the consonant cognitions dissonance bw important cognitions more intense than bw unimportant onesex dont want to live forever anyways pleasure compensates for its risks increase cognition smoking is enjoyable Early Research on Dissonance Theory Induced Compliance Dissonance from Counterattitudinal Behaviour Counterattitudinal behaviour behaviour that is counter toinconsistent with individuals attitudes values or beliefsto capture dissonance must elicit this behaviour from peopleInduced compliance paradigmresearch methodology used to test dissonance theory that arouses dissonance by getting people to engage in counterattitudinal behaviour In this paradigm participants are induced to comply with an experimenters request that they behave in a way that is inconsistent with their attitudes Study by Festinger and Carlsmith y Participants worked for 1 or 2 hours on boring tasks some were told by other participants that it was fun giving them positive expectancies others werent told anythingGot those participants from the no pretask expectancies group to go out and tell the person sitting there that the tasks was funbehaved in a counterattitudinal fashiony In a manipulation of the study some given 20 for doing the study and others given 1those given 1 were expected to reduce dissonance by evaluating tasks more positively the 20 people didnt have to convince themselves the task was funGrasshopper study created dissonance bw eating grasshoppers is gross and I ate onethose with the nice experimenter had the cognition I helped a nice person served as justification for their decision to eat itthose from the unlikeable situation reduced their dissonance forced to change their evaluation of eating grasshoppers to it isnt so badEffort Justification Dissonance from Wasted EffortDissonance theory predicts people who suspect theyve wasted effort will be motivated to change one of the dissonant cognitions or add consonant cognitions Effort justification paradigmresearch methodology used to test dissonance theory that arouses dissonance by getting people to invest time or energy to achieve a goal that may not be worthwhilelead participants to suspect effort theyve invested may have been worthless participants would reduce dissonance by convincing themselves the goal was worthwhileStudy by Aronson and Mills y Females participated in a sexual discussion group during screening test some went through a severe test read obscene words and detailed sex descriptions and others through a mild test read words like petting prostitutelistened to a tape from previous week that was very boring and asked to rate it those from the severe group had dissonance bw I went through an embarrassing test to join this group and this group is boring so they would change the cognition to this group is interestingA painful initiation may increase the commitment of new members to the group which may explain why some groups have such proceduresex initiation to get into a fraternity Were motivated to like things or value things that we have invested timeeffort to attain Free Choice Dissonance from Making a DecisionFestinger hypothesized after making a decision people almost always experience some dissonance this kind of dissonance has logically been labelled postdecisional dissonanceChosen option will usually have some negative features rejected has some positive onesFree choice paradigmresearch methodology used to test dissonance theory that arouses dissonance by getting people to choose between two or more alternativesthinking about the
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