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Chapter 7

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PSYC 2120
Ward Struthers

Chapter 7Rationalizing Our Own Behaviour Cognitive Dissonance Theory y Would you eat a fried grasshopper o Half asked by pleasant experimenter other half asked by arrogant cold experimenter o 50 of participants in each condition ate it o Who gave more favourable ratings of grasshoppersUnpleasant experimenter produced more favourable ratingspleasant o Example of cognitive dissonance theoryalso public recognition dissonance appears in normal conversation Feeling Bad About Irrational Behaviour The Arousal of Dissonance Cognitive dissonanceproposed by Leon Festinger y States that awareness of consonant cognitions makes us feel good whereas awareness of dissonant cognitions makes us feel bad y Further the unpleasant feelings produced by dissonant cognitions motivate us to do something to change our state y Consequence of fit or consistency between different cognitions in minds y Cognition as a belief or piece of knowledgelogically connected either posneg y Thousands of cognitions stored in peoples memories but will be aware of only a small number at any one timeConsistentcompatible with one another they imply that the other is valid or good Consonant cognitionsy 1 I brush my teeth 2x a day and 2 Tooth brushing prevents cavities support one another Dissonant cognitions inconsistent with one another logically discrepant they imply that the other is wrong or bad y 1 I smoke and 2 Smoking causes cancer logically discrepant y Awareness of consonant cognitions makes us feel good whereas awareness of dissonant cognitions make us feel bad y Behave a certain way and other piece of knowledge implying that your behaviour was wronginappropriate SP define dissonance as the state of feeling bad or conflicted about ones own irrational behavioury Importance of the cognitions influences the amount of dissonancey Dissonance between very important cognitions causes more intense negative feelings than does dissonance between less important cognitions 1000 on workshop vs 100 choosing wrong university vs tshirt hurting best friends feeling vs stranger Making Irrational Behaviour Rational Reduction of Dissonance y Dissonanceaversive arousal and motivated to reduce it y Dissonanceinvolves irrational behaviour reduction must involve rationalization y Rationalization convincing ourselves that our current or past behaviour made sense after all y Dissonance is a motivational model focus on selfpersuasion in form of rationalization How to reduce dissonance 1 Change one of the dissonant cognitions directly a change her attitude to be consonant with her behavior b change her behavior to be consonant with her attitude y ExI smoke and smoking causes cancer to I dont smoke Smoking causes cancer2 If changing one of the dissonant cognitions is difficult changing behaviour is difficult adding consonant cognitionsy These cognitions support the persons behaviour and make it seem more reasonabley People often rationalize undesirable behaviour by arguing that it has some positive benefits y Smoking keeps my weight down is consonant with I smoke 3 Increasing the importance of one of the consonant cognitions y Dissonance can be reduced therefore by reducing the importance of the dissonant cognitions andor increasing the importance of the consonant cognitionsy Smoker accepts cancer link but decides the pleasure of smokingrisks y Live fast and die young and smoking is enjoyable is more importantsmoking causes cancer
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