Cognitive Dissonance & Relative Deprivation Essay

1122 words - 4 pages

Explain the concept of cognitive dissonance, giving examples of when this phenomen is likely to occur. Why do people in general try to reduce cognitive dissonance? Give examples.How might retailers try to reduce a consumer's cognitive dissonance? And how might work be responsible for high levels of dissonance?Explain the phenomenom of relative deprivation. Does it explain the high levels of dissatisfaction, depression and deviance in our society? Why does Oliver James call Britain "a low serotonin society"?Chapter ICognitive Dissonance describes a disharmonised mental state in which people feel a discrepancy between things they already know or believe and new information or opinions. ATHERTON J S (2003) Learning and Teaching: Cognitive Dissonance [On-line], UKAn individual can have cognitions about, for example, behaviours, attitudes, beliefs or feelings and the cognitions can be, for example, about oneself, another person, a group or general topics. Cognitive Dissonance is not a logical principle but rather a psychological one. This means, that it is often impossible to give a rational explanation for a behaviour, an opinion or a decision which had been made. Hence one person may feel dissonance about a certain aspect whereas another person may think it is consonant. HARMEN-JONES et al. (1999)When, for instance, a decision between two similar goods has to be made one alternative will be weigh against the other and the one which is considered to be the best will be taken. After having bought the product, however, the owner will probably experience cognitive dissonance as he or she might no longer be sure whether the decision was right or wrong. To make sure that the decision was right the person can now search for positive information about the purchased product or negative information about the rejected product or even ask a person who is considered to have the same opinion as oneself. By doing this more consonant aspects are added to the product already bought as well as negative aspects to the rejected one. Finally, the consonant aspects outweigh the dissonant aspects and cognitive dissonance is no longer felt or has been reduced.Cognitive dissonance is a very distressing feeling and it is very controversial to the consistent and comfortable state of mind everyone strives for. Even though it is a normal necessity to avoid the feeling of dissonance, the likelyhood not to experience cognitive dissonance at all is pretty low, which means that people can just try to reduce it. Good examples for this are smoker. A smoker would normally feel dissonance with every cigarette he or she smokes, as they are pretty certain of the harmful effect of cigarettes. To reduce dissonance they could just stop smoking, but this option is hardly used. Traditionally, smoker begin to jusitfy themselves by searching for positive effects of smoking, such as, smoking is not as harmful as people say or they try to play down the risks of smoking by pointing out that sooner...

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