Cognitive Dissonance Case Study by jlatigue

Cognitive Dissonance
An explanation of cognitive dissonance with a sample case study.
# 147807 | 1,342 words | 3 sources | APA | 2011 | US
Published on Jul 14, 2011 in Psychology (Behaviorism) , Psychology (Theory)

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This paper presents a case study of a young woman, Mary, who due to a stressful time in her life strays away from her beliefs and values to reach a desired outcome. The writer then uses this example to describe the dissonance theory as an explanation for discrepancies between an individual's attitudes and behaviors.

Identify a Situation
Analyze the Situation
Behavior and Attitudes

From the Paper:

''From the time an individual is young, he or she is taught that if a person is good, has strong values, beliefs, and morals that life will turn out all right. Good things happen to good people. On the flipside, if a person lives a lazy and immoral life, there will be consequences. Bad things happen to bad people. Religious groups teach people that "we reap what we sow." However, during tough economic times, situations may arise that lead a person to question his or her morals and values. During times of stress, a person will sometimes stray from his or her beliefs and values to reach a desired outcome. There are many stories where a person compromises his or her moral beliefs and engage in behavior that is against his or her moral character. Here is one of them.
''A woman named Mary was an unmarried mother of two children, a 10 month old son and a two year old daughter. Mary has just lost her job because of a lay off within her company due to the declining economy. Mary is feeling more stressed trying to look for work with few companies even accepting resumes. Mary's electricity in the apartment has been turned off due to non-payment, and she is also two months past due on her rent. As a result from the added stress Mary is under, she considers demonstrating certain immoral behaviors to help cut her lights back on and gain extra money for her children. Mary believes that because of the added stress and the inability to provide for her children, it would be okay to break a few moral codes she abides by in order to provide for her family.''

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bagozzi, B. P., & Burnkrant, R. E. (1979). Attitude measurement and its relationship to behavior. Advances in Consumer Research, 6(),.
  • Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. (2006). Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior (11th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
  • Myers, D. G. (2010). Social Psychology (10th ed.). New York , NY: McGraw Hill.

Cite this Case Study:

APA Format

Cognitive Dissonance (2011, July 14) Retrieved September 28, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Cognitive Dissonance" 14 July 2011. Web. 28 September. 2022. <>