According to cognitive dissonance theory, there is a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions (beliefs, expectations, or opinions of a particular individual). When inconsistency does exist between these beliefs or attitudes, psychological tension (dissonance) occurs and must be resolved through some action. This tension most often results when an individual must choose between two incompatible beliefs or actions and is heightened when alternatives are equally attractive to the individual. This tension state has drive-like properties.
If dissonance is experienced as an unpleasant drive state, the individual is motivated to reduce it. However, it is not an easy state to reduce. Dissonance can be eliminated by reducing the importance of the conflicting beliefs, by acquiring new beliefs that change the balance, or removing the conflicting attitude or behavior. In theory, cognitive dissonance suggests that actions have a causal relationship upon cognitions. My personal example of cognitive dissonance is the purchase of a 1966 Mustang I made over the summer.
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This car was my dream car; it was all original, in good shape, and had all of the features I could ever want. I didn’t have much money but I was so excited that I took out my first loan to buy this beautiful car. However, when it came time for school in the fall, I discovered that it was not the ideal vehicle to drive over the mountains. It was an older car, it didn’t have seatbelts, and was very sluggish traveling over the mountain pass. I was extremely frustrated.
Dissonance existed between my belief that I had bought a dream car and that a dream car should have seatbelts and have enough power to make it over a mountain pass. To eliminate this dissonance, I decided to store the car at my parents house and only drive the car infrequently. I decided that it didn’t really matter that it couldn’t drive over the pass; It was still a nice car and didn’t want to put a whole bunch of mileage on it anyway. Since then, I have also purchased another car that does have seatbelts and can drive 75mph over the pass.
In doing so, I have changed both my behavior and my beliefs. I have changed my belief that it is important for a dream car to have seatbelts and drive over a mountain. It is now not as important that it has those qualities. I have settled with the excuse that it is still a nice car, and I don’t want to put many miles on it. In purchasing a new car with these features (that is not what I believe to be a dream car), I have also changed my beliefs. I no longer think those qualities constitute the ideal car. I have also changed my behavior by buying a new car.
I could not change my belief that the mustang was a dream car and tag a “for sale” sign in the window. I still believed this was my dream car, and the behavior of getting rid of the car would be a lot harder than changing my beliefs. It was a lot easier to reduce the importance of the dissonant belief. I have stopped driving the car and have begun to drive a new car as a result. “If I chose to do it or say it, I must believe in it. ” asserts the psychologist Leon Festinger (as cited in Psychology: Eighth Edition in Modules, 2007, p. 31). When we become aware that our actions contradict our attitudes, we tend to revise our attitudes. This statement fits Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory that asserts that we act to reduce discomfort or dissonance, an unpleasant tension, we experience when two of our thoughts or cognitions are inconsistent. Mkimmie, et al. (2003) investigated the impact of social support on cognitive dissonance arousal in their experiment, “I’m a Hypocrite, but So Is Everyone Else: Group Support and the Reduction of Cognitive Dissonance. The psychologists aimed to test the impact of social support on dissonance by testing two hypotheses. While the results that were attained in the study are not more adequate to use than previous experiments, the hypothesis of Mkimmie et al. (2003) offers new insight into the cognitive dissonance theory. In addition, the theory highlights the importance of group-derived cognitions, a topic that has been of… “Your best friend is having a beer bash tonight. Everyone you talk to indicated their positive intentions of going to the best beer bash of the millennium.
However, you have a Psyc 135 final next morning that you haven’t studied for. Your midterm scores have been low going into the final, but everyone claims that the final is easy every semester. Should you stay home and study for the final or go to this millennium beer bash and merrily consume alcohol? ” Above stated scenario raises several questions in my mind and lands me in a state of psychological tension. Having a choice of attending a social event or studying for the final exam puts me in a dilemma as to what to do next.
Deciding to stay home and study for a test may very well anger my friends, but may also cause a terrible sense of well being of missing out on a social event. While deciding to go to the party instead, it leads me in a state of tension as the party time can be well spent on studying for the final exam next morning. This state of uneasiness or tension is easily understood as Cognitive Dissonance. Cognitive Dissonance Theory, developed by Leon Festinger (1957), is concerned with the relationships among cognitions (Festinger, 1957).
In this context, cognition can be perceived as a piece of knowledge that may inscribe an element of an attitude, an emotion, a behavior, a value, and so on (Festinger, 1957). For example, the knowledge that you like the color blue is a cognition. People hold a multitude of co… … middle of paper … … tent cognitions in order to find a way to invalidate the inconsistent cognitions (O’Keefe, 1990). Also, it may be advantageous to alter the importance of the various cognitions to reduce the level of dissonance, since the discrepant and consonant cognitions must be weighed by importance.
References Berkowitz, L. & Cotton, J. (1984). Cognitive Dissonance in Selective Exposure. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 17, 357-373. O’Keefe, Daniel J. (1990). Persuasion: Theory and Research. Newbury Park, California: Sage Press. Festinger, L. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. The theory of Cognitive Dissonance states that when individuals are presented with information that implies we act in a way that contradicts our moral standards, we experience discomfort (Aronson, Wilson, and Akert, 1998, P. 191).
This is considered Cognitive Dissonance, A psychological term used to describe mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information; arouses unease or tension; relieved by one of several defensive maneuvers: rejecting, explaining away, or avoiding new information; persuading self that no conflict really exists; reconciling differences; or resorting to any other defensive means of preserving stability or order in conception of world and of self; first introduced in 1950s; has become major point of discussion and research in psychology (as ited in Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia, 1996). This theory was developed by Leon Festinger (1957), is concerned with the relationships among cognitions. Cognition, for the purpose of this theory, may be thought of as a piece of knowledge, thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. Knowledge may be about an attitude, an emotion, a behavior, or a value. For instance, the fact that you like the color red is cognition. People have a massive amount of cognitions at the same time, and these cognitions create irrelevant, relationships with one another. Therefore, that … Cognitive Dissonance and Advertising
Advertising deals with people’s feelings and emotions. It includes understanding of the psychology of the buyer, his motives, attitudes, as well as the influences on him such as his family and reference groups, social class and culture. In order to increase the advertisements persuasiveness, advertisers use many types of extensions of behavioural sciences to marketing and buying behaviour. One such extension is the theory of cognitive dissonance. The purpose of advertising can be to create a cognitive dissonance to generate a favourable response from the buyer toward a product or a concept.
First of all, I will talk about the purpose of advertising and its mechanism and I will look at how it can be related to the theory of cognitive dissonance. In addition to that, I will examine the effects of fear appeals on consumers, which are a direct application of the theory of cognitive dissonance. I will try to provide concrete examples of fear appeals and I will take into consideration the ethical aspect of fear appeals. In last part, I will give some examples, where advertisements are used to reduce the cognitive dissonance. The purpose of advertising is simply to sell a product or a service.
In social contexts ads have many other applications such as reducing accidents, increasing voting and reducing smoking which must be assessed instead of profit. However people do not automatically buy a product after they are expo… … middle of paper … … haviour, Prentice Hall. SHIMP T. A. , 1993 , Promotion management and marketing communications, 3rd edition, The Dryden Press. SCHUDSON M. , 1993, Advertising, the uneasy persuasion. It’s dubious impact on American society, Routledge. ASSAEL H. , 1987, Consumer Behaviour and Marketing Action, 3rd edition, PWS-Kent Publishing Company.
WILLIAMSON J. , 1978, Decoding advertisements : ideology and meaning in advertising, Boyars. FESTINGER L. , 1957, A theory of cognitive dissonance, Evanston. Quick References : Journal of advertisements. Journal of marketing research. Internet : http://uts. cc. texas. edu/~chaekm/dissonance. htm http://ciadvertising. org/studies/student/99_spring/interactive/tai/theory3/purchase. html Why do human beings make the decisions that they do, and what triggers a person to take action at any given point? These questions can be answered by evaluating the Cognitive Dissonance Theory.
Leon Festinger developed this theory in order to explain why people attempt to reduce dissonance and try to maintain constant relationships. A dissonant relationship exists between elements that are in disequilibria with one another. Cognitive dissonance can occur interpersonally as well as between two or more people. With individual cognitive dissonance the individual longs for consistency within his or her own mind. Second, there exists dissonance between two or more people. This occurs when two people have differing opinions about a particular issue.
According to this theory individuals will make decisions that will promote consistency in their cognitions. Thus, individuals employ several different coping strategies to deal with dissonance. Every person experiences some type of dissonance almost everyday. My experience to dissonance for this paper will examine the different reactions that my friend had to my different opinions concerning smoking. I have attempted to persuade my friends to stop smoking. While attempting the momentous task I observed Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance at work.
For example, I told one of my friends that I was concerned about how much they had been smoking recently. He quickly told me that, “my grandfather smoked for nearly all his life and he is in good health. ” In this particular instance we can see the basic premise of the consistency theories at work. The guy who said this statement likes me and is my friend. He also enjoys smoking. When I made the statement that I was concerned with the levels of tobacco consumption he disregarded my opinion by using past experiences as evidence to back his point….