Cognitive Dissonance Theory Term Paper by Master Researcher

Cognitive Dissonance Theory
A review of the cognitive dissonance theory.
# 36461 | 1,650 words | 5 sources | APA | 2002 | US
Published on Oct 09, 2003 in Psychology (Theory)

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This paper explains the principles of the cognitive dissonance theory and how they apply to most situations involving attitude formation and change. The paper relates that dissonance is most common in the life situations where an individual must compromise between two courses of action that are incompatible with his personal beliefs. The paper discusses the three mental mechanisms which were to guarantee individuals that their attitudes and actions would work as one, and the two ways in which individuals try to rid themselves of dissonance. The paper provides an example that can be explained by the cognitive dissonance theory.

From the Paper:

"The Cognitive Dissonance theory, developed by Leon Festinger (1957), is concerned with the relationship among cognitions. Cognition, for the purpose of this theory, may be thought of as a "piece of knowledge". Two cognitions are stated to be 'dissonant' if they are in conflict with one another or oppose each other. For example consider a child who dislikes chocolate ice cream yet, still purchases a chocolate ice cream cone. The child knows that he/she does not like it, but wants to adjust with his/her dislike and is trying to be positive about it.
"People appear to prefer cognitions that fit together to those that do not. Let us see what happens to individuals who discover that they have dissonant cognitions. Those who are in such a situation realize a state of psychological dissonance. Dissonance increases when the degree of discrepant cognitions increases, and is inversely proportional to the number of consonant cognitions. When it is experienced, an individual is motivated to reduce it. If two cognitions are discrepant we can simply change one to make it consistent with the other, or we can change in the direction of the other. If two cognitions cause a certain magnitude of dissonance, adding one or more consonant cognition can reduce that magnitude. These then bring about an attitude change."

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APA Format

Cognitive Dissonance Theory (2003, October 09) Retrieved November 26, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Cognitive Dissonance Theory" 09 October 2003. Web. 26 November. 2020. <>