Cognitive Dissonance Theory Applications Essay

2487 words - 10 pages

1. Introduction
1.1. What is Cognitive Dissonance?
1.2. Cognitive Dissonance Phenomena
1.3. Ways to address Cognitive Dissonance
1.4. Significance
2. Project Statement
3. Methodology
3.1. Sample
3.2. Material
3.3. Procedure
4. Results
5. Conclusion
6. References

1. Introduction

1.1. What is Cognitive Dissonance?
The cognitive dissonance theory was proposed by a famous psychologist Leon Festinger in the 1950’s. The theory states that if a person holds two inconsistent cognitions, then he will experience an uncomfortable tension and this state of mind is called cognitive dissonance. In general, the human tendency is to reduce ...view middle of the document...

Therefore, people prefer to be exposed to information that is supportive to their current beliefs.
b) Post decision Dissonance: Whenever people have choices and they choose an alternative over some other set of alternatives they tend to go through huge amounts of internal tension once the decision has been made. They agonize over whether they have made the right decision or not.
c) Minimal Justification (Induced Compliance): If a person does an activity which is not in line with his or her attitude, freely chosen without any incentive or justification, leads to a change in attitude of the person.
d) Hypocrisy Induction: The idea here is to call attention to the inconsistency of a person’s attitudes and actions that is, the person’s hypocrisy. This will arouse dissonance in the individual which is then reduced by behavioral change.

1.3. Ways to address Cognitive Dissonance:
There are three ways by which an individual might address the state of cognitive dissonance he or she is facing:
a) Change the behavior: The individual might change his or her behavior in order to reduce the internal conflict he or she is undergoing. Thus, removing one of the conflicting issues and are left with only a single choice hence no dissonance.
b) Justify the behavior by changing the conflicting cognition: People may have the tendency to not change the behavior as they believe that it is right and something which shouldn’t be changed. In such situations they begin to justify their behavior in order to reduce the dissonance.
c) Justify the behavior by adding new cognitions: Individuals may add new concepts, ideas or behaviors to explain or justify the conflicts.

1.4. Significance:
The Cognitive Dissonance Theory is one of the major theories in the field of psychology which has been used for a long time. The cognitive dissonance phenomena is something which almost everyone faces and can relate to it. It has wide applications in many fields such as mass media, communications, marketing etc. For example, the governments of almost all countries have made it mandatory to print warning against smoking with the line “Smoking Kills” on it and even a picture of damaged lungs on the cigarette packets. This is to create dissonance amongst smokers so that they realize the harms of smoking and quit.
1.5. Controversies:
According to the theory the individual might or might not change his or her behavior due to the dissonance faced. But it is quite possible to have an intermediate stage between the two behaviors. That is the individual might not completely change his or her behavior but modify the behavior such that the dissonance is reduced and not completely removed. This hasn’t been included in the original theory given by Festinger.

2. Project Statement
Through this report, we tried to understand the implications of Cognitive Dissonance and how it works. This was done in order to address the cause of smoking and steps that maybe taken so that...

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