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The Need to Justify Our Actions: The Costs and Benefits of Dissonance Reduction CHAPTER 6 Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved HEAVENS GATE CULT Believed that a space ship was coming to transport them Needed to rid selves of current containers (own

body) Spaceship failed to appear behind Hale-Bopp Comet Continued with plan anyway Mass suicide What is the process by which intelligent,

sane people can succumb to such fantastic thinking and self-destructive behavior? Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE THEORY OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE 6.1 What is cognitive dissonance, and how do people avoid dissonance to maintain a positive self-image? MAINTAINING A STABLE, POSITIVE SELF-IMAGE As humans, we strive to maintain a favorable

view of ourselves When confronted with unfavorable view of self Experience discomfort Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved WHEN COGNITIONS CONFLICT (1 OF 2) Cognitive Dissonance:

discomfort that people feel when two cognitions (beliefs, attitudes) conflict, or when they behave in ways that are inconsistent with their conception of themselves Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved A LESSON IN COGNITIVE DISSONANCE Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved FESTINGER AND CARLSMITH, 1959 (1 OF 4)

Cover story The effect of interest instructions on performance on a boring task Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved FESTINGER AND CARLSMITH, 1959 (2 OF 4) IV = $ for telling a lie $20.00

large external justification: sufficient $1.00, small external justification: insufficient control no $, no lie DV = enjoyment of the task Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved

FESTINGER AND CARLSMITH, 1959 (3 OF 4) Students paid $20 for lyingfor saying that the tasks had been enjoyable Rated $20 the task as dull and boring was sufficient external justification for lying $20 reduced dissonance between positive view of self

(honest person) & behavior (lying) Lied because was paid to do so Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved FESTINGER AND CARLSMITH, 1959 (4 OF 4) Students paid only $1 for lying (saying the boring task was fun) Rated the task as significantly more enjoyable

External justification was insufficient Reduced dissonance via internal justification Changed attitude about task Believed the lie they told

Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THREE WAYS TO REDUCE DISSONANCE 1. Change behavior 2. Justify behavior by changing one of the dissonant cognitions 3. Justify behavior by adding new cognitions

Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved FIGURE 6.1 HOW WE REDUCE COGNITIVE DISSONANCE THERE ARE THREE BASIC WAYS OF REDUCING DISSONANCE: CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOR, CHANGE YOUR COGNITION, OR ADD A NEW COGNITION. Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved SELF-AFFIRMATION Bolster the self-concept

Reducing dissonance by adding a cognition about other positive attributes e.g., smoker who fails to quit Not very smart of me to be smoking, but, Im really a very good mathematician! Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved IMPACT BIAS The tendency to overestimate the intensity and duration of our emotional reactions to

future negative events. When we think about the future, we overestimate how bad negative events, like the end of a romantic relationship, will make us feel. What we fail to recognize is that dissonance reduction often helps us back bounce quickly. Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved WHY WE OVERESTIMATE THE PAIN OF DISAPPOINTMENT Why does impact bias occur?

Process of reducing dissonance is largely unconscious Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved DISSONANCE AND THE SELF-CONCEPT Dissonance most painful when one of the cognitions is about the self Particularly true for those with high self-esteem

Temporary blows to self-esteem can lead to greater behaviors consistent with low opinion of the self (e.g., cheat) People less likely to cheat when their selfconcept of not being a cheater is invoked Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS Every time we make a decision, we

experience dissonance. Chosen alternative has some negative aspects Rejected alternative has some positive aspects Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE COLLEGE DECISION LIFE IS FULL OF TOUGH CHOICES, LIKE WHERE TO ATTEND COLLEGE. ONCE WE MAKE A DECISION, WE OFTEN INFLATE THE IMPORTANCE OF POSITIVE ASPECTS OF OUR CHOICE (I.E., THE COLLEGE WE SELECTED) AND MINIMIZE THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF THE OTHER ALTERNATIVES (I.E., THE COLLEGES WE DIDNT SELECT).

Source: Jeff Greenberg/Alamy Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved DISTORTING OUR LIKES AND DISLIKES (1 OF 2) Distort likes and dislikes Downplay Negative aspects of chosen alternative Positive aspects of rejected alternative

Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved DISTORTING OUR LIKES AND DISLIKES (2 OF 2) Postdecision Dissonance: Dissonance aroused after making a decision, typically reduced by enhancing the attractiveness of the chosen alternative and devaluating the rejected alternatives Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE PERMANENCE OF THE DECISION

More important decisions = More dissonance Greater permanence = More dissonance Permanence of decision How difficult it is to revoke Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved

BUYING A NEW CAR: WHAT POSTDECISION EFFECT? ALL SALES ARE FINAL. WHEN WILL THESE CUSTOMERS BE HAPPIER WITH THEIR NEW CAR: TEN MINUTES BEFORE THE PURCHASE OR TEN MINUTES AFTER? Source: Industrieblick/Fotolia Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved CREATING THE ILLUSION OF IRREVOCABILITY (1 OF 2) When decisions are permanent (irrevocable) Dissonance Motivation

increases to reduce dissonance increases Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved CREATING THE ILLUSION OF IRREVOCABILITY (2 OF 2) Lowballing Salesperson induces a customer to agree to purchase a product at a very low cost,

subsequently claims it was an error, and then raises the price. Frequently, the customer will agree to make the purchase at the inflated price. Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THREE REASONS LOWBALLING WORKS 1. Sense of commitment 2.

Sense of commitment triggers the anticipation of an exciting event 3. Price only slightly higher than other prices elsewhere Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE DECISION TO BEHAVE IMMORALLY (1 OF 5) When is it okay to lie to a friend?

When is an act stealing, and when is it borrowing? Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE DECISION TO BEHAVE IMMORALLY (2 OF 5) Moral dilemmas Implications

for self-esteem Dissonance reduction People may behave either more ethically or less ethically in the future Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE DECISION TO BEHAVE IMMORALLY (3 OF 5) Example: Cheating on a test

Dissonance Positive view of self inconsistent with dishonest behavior How to reduce dissonance? Change attitude about cheating Not a big deal, everyone does it

Future behaviorless ethical Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE DECISION TO BEHAVE IMMORALLY (4 OF 5) Example: Cheating on a test Change behavior

Do not ever cheat again Future behaviormore ethical Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE DECISION TO BEHAVE IMMORALLY (5 OF 5) Example: Decide not to cheat Post-decision

Would have received better grade if cheated Reducing dissonance Change attitude dissonance To justify giving up a good grade, you convince

yourself that cheating is even worse than you previously felt it was Attitude becomes more extreme Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved FIGURE 6.2 THE CHEATING PYRAMID IMAGINE TWO STUDENTS TAKING AN EXAM. BOTH ARE TEMPTED TO CHEAT. INITIALLY, THEIR ATTITUDES TOWARD CHEATING ARE ALMOST IDENTICAL, BUT THEN ONE IMPULSIVELY CHEATS AND THE

OTHER DOES NOT. THEIR ATTITUDES WILL THEN UNDERGO PREDICTABLE CHANGES. (CREATED BY CAROL TAVRIS. USED BY PERMISSION.) Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved DISSONANCE REDUCTION AND PERSONAL VALUES (1 OF 2) Mills (1958) Measured 6th graders attitudes about cheating

Gave opportunity to cheat in a game Easy to cheat Cheating almost necessary to win Believed cheating could not be detected Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved

DISSONANCE REDUCTION AND PERSONAL VALUES (2 OF 2) Cheaters Became more lenient toward cheating Noncheaters Became less lenient toward cheating

Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved DISSONANCE, CULTURE, AND THE BRAIN Dissonant information Reasoning Dissonance is reduced Emotion

circuits of brain shut down circuits activated Primates also show changes in what is valued after making a decision Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved DISSONANCE ACROSS CULTURES Process of dissonance reduction Culturally

universal Content of dissonance reduction Cultural differences What thoughts are added, changed differ by culture Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved SELF-JUSTIFICATION IN EVERYDAY LIFE 6.2 How does cognitive dissonance operate in

everyday life, and what are some constructive ways of reducing it? TOUGH TRAINING FOR MARINES THE HARSH TRAINING REQUIRED TO BECOME A MARINE WILL INCREASE THE RECRUITS FEELINGS OF COHESIVENESS AND THEIR PRIDE IN THE CORPS. Source: moodboard/Fotolia Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE JUSTIFICATION OF EFFORT (1 OF 5) Example Suppose

you expend a great deal of effort to get into a particular club and it turns out to be a totally worthless organization How would you reduce this dissonance? How would you justify your behavior? Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE JUSTIFICATION OF EFFORT (2 OF 5) Justification of Effort

The tendency for individuals to increase their liking for something they have worked hard to attain. People may interpret ambiguities in a positive way when it helps to justify effort Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE JUSTIFICATION OF EFFORT (3 OF 5) Aronson and Mills 1959 study Cover story: College students volunteered to join a group that would be meeting regularly

to discuss various aspects of the psychology of sex. Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE JUSTIFICATION OF EFFORT (4 OF 5) Aronson and Mills (1959): IV Severity of group initiation

1/3 participants: extremely demanding, unpleasant initiation 1/3: mildly unpleasant 1/3: admitted to group without any initiation DV Liking of group after admitted

Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE JUSTIFICATION OF EFFORT (5 OF 5) Aronson and Mills (1959) Mild initiation or no effort: less liking of group Severe initiation: more liking of group

Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved FIGURE 6.3 THE JUSTIFICATION OF EFFORT THE MORE EFFORT WE PUT INTO BECOMING MEMBERS OF A GROUP, AND THE TOUGHER THE INITIATION, THE MORE WE WILL LIKE THE GROUP WE HAVE JUST JOINEDEVEN IF IT TURNS OUT TO BE A DUD. (Adapted from Aronson & Mills, 1959.) Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE ROLE OF PAIN IN RITUAL A DEVOTEE PARTICIPATES IN A RITUAL AS PART OF THE HINDU FESTIVAL OF THAIPUSAM. Source: Shariff Che'Lah/Fotolia

Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved EXTERNAL VERSUS INTERNAL JUSTIFICATION External Justification A reason or an explanation for dissonant personal behavior that resides outside the individual (e.g., to receive a large reward or avoid a severe punishment)

Internal Justification The reduction of dissonance by changing something about oneself (e.g., ones attitude or behavior) Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved DO CELEBRITIES BELIEVE THEIR ENDORSEMENTS? CELEBRITIES ARE PAID HUGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY TO ENDORSE PRODUCTS. DO YOU THINK THAT BRAD PITT BELIEVES THE MESSAGE HE IS DELIVERING ABOUT THIS EXPENSIVE WATCH? IS THE JUSTIFICATION FOR HIS ENDORSEMENT INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL? Source: Splash News/Newscom Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved

COUNTERATTITUDINAL ADVOCACY Stating an opinion or attitude that runs counter to ones private belief or attitude Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved PUNISHMENT AND SELF-PERSUASION (1 OF 3) If threat of punishment for engaging in a forbidden behavior is severe There

is sufficient external justification for refraining from behavior If punishment is less severe There is insufficient external justification Creates greater need for internal justification

Change attitudes via self-persuasion Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved PUNISHMENT AND SELF-PERSUASION (2 OF 3) Insufficient Punishment The dissonance aroused when individuals lack sufficient external justification for having resisted a desired activity or object, usually resulting in individuals devaluing the forbidden activity or object

Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved PUNISHMENT AND SELF-PERSUASION (3 OF 3) When external justification for resisting an object or activity is insufficient: Dissonance Reduce is aroused dissonance by

Self-persuasion e.g., devaluing forbidden activity or object Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved PERSUADING BULLIES TO STOP PARENTS CAN INTERVENE TO STOP ONE SIBLING FROM TORMENTING ANOTHER RIGHT AT THE MOMENT OF THE INCIDENT, BUT WHAT MIGHT THEY DO TO MAKE IT LESS LIKELY TO HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE? Source: Shannon Fagan/The Image Bank/Getty Images Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved

THE LASTING EFFECTS OF SELFPERSUASION (1 OF 4) Aronson & Carlsmith (1963): Children rated the attractiveness of toys, then were forbidden to play with toy they found most attractive IV = Severity of threatened punishment children: threat of mild punishment if they disobeyed and played with toy

children: threat of severe punishment DV = Rating of toy attractiveness Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE LASTING EFFECTS OF SELFPERSUASION (2 OF 4) Threat of severe punishment Forbidden toy remained highly attractive

No change in attitude Had sufficient external justification for resisting toy Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE LASTING EFFECTS OF SELFPERSUASION (3 OF 4) Threat of mild punishment Forbidden

External toy was rated as less attractive justification was insufficient Resolved dissonance through internal justification Change attitude about toy Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved

THE LASTING EFFECTS OF SELFPERSUASION (4 OF 4) Self-Persuasion A long-lasting form of attitude change that results from attempts at self-justification Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved FIGURE 6.4 THE FORBIDDEN TOY EXPERIMENT CHILDREN WHO HAD RECEIVED A THREAT OF MILD PUNISHMENT WERE FAR LESS LIKELY TO PLAY WITH A FORBIDDEN TOY (ORANGE BAR) THAN CHILDREN WHO HAD RECEIVED A THREAT OF SEVERE PUNISHMENT (BLUE BAR). THOSE GIVEN A MILD THREAT HAD TO PROVIDE THEIR OWN JUSTIFICATION BY DEVALUING THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE TOY (I DIDNT WANT TO PLAY WITH IT ANYHOW).

THE RESULTING SELF-PERSUASION LASTED FOR WEEKS. (Based on data in Freedman, 1965.) Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved FIGURE 6.5 EXTERNAL VERSUS INTERNAL JUSTIFICATION AS THIS GRAPHIC SUMMARIZES, INSUFFICIENT PUNISHMENT OR REWARD LEADS TO SELF-JUSTIFICATION, WHICH IN TURN LEADS TO SELF-PERSUASION AND LASTING CHANGE. LARGER REWARDS OR PUNISHMENTS MAY PRODUCE TEMPORARY COMPLIANCE, WHICH RARELY LASTS. Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE HYPOCRISY PARADIGM (1 OF 2)

Induce hypocrisy Make person aware of conflict between Attitudes Behavior Hypocrisy Reduce

creates dissonance dissonance by changing behavior e.g., attitudes about condoms and use of condoms Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved THE HYPOCRISY PARADIGM (2 OF 2) Students in the hypocrisy condition were subsequently more likely to buy condoms than students in any of the other conditions.

Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved JUSTIFYING GOOD DEEDS AND HARMFUL ACTS Dissonance theory predicts that when we dislike someone, if we do them a favor, we will like them more Behavior is dissonant with attitude Change attitude about person to resolve

dissonance The Ben Franklin Effect Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved FIGURE 6.6 THE JUSTIFICATION OF KINDNESS IF WE HAVE DONE SOMEONE A PERSONAL FAVOR (BLUE BAR), WE ARE LIKELY TO FEEL MORE POSITIVELY TOWARD THAT PERSON THAN IF WE DONT DO THE FAVOR (ORANGE BAR) OR DO THE FAVOR BECAUSE OF AN IMPERSONAL REQUEST (YELLOW BAR). (Based on data in Jecker & Landy, 1969.) Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved

THE BEN FRANKLIN EFFECT WITHOUT REALIZING IT, BEN FRANKLIN MAY HAVE BEEN THE FIRST DISSONANCE THEORIST. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington [LCUSZC4-7214] Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved DEHUMANIZING THE ENEMY: JUSTIFYING CRUELTY (1 OF 2) Cruel behavior is dissonant with view of self as a decent human being Resolve

dissonance by changing thoughts about victim Davis and Jones (1960) Participants told a young man (confederate) they thought he was shallow, untrustworthy, boring. Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved DEHUMANIZING THE ENEMY: JUSTIFYING CRUELTY (2 OF 2)

Participants convinced themselves They He didnt like the victim deserved to be hurt Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved DEHUMANIZING MINORITIES AS EVIDENT IN THIS RACIST PROPAGANDA FROM AN ELECTION IN PENNSYLVANIA IN THE 1860S, WHITE EFFORTS TO DEHUMANIZE BLACKS MADE IT EASIER FOR THEM TO TREAT BLACK PEOPLE CRUELLY AND JUSTIFY DISCRIMINATION AND OTHER BRUTAL ACTS AGAINST THEM. DEHUMANIZATION OF OUTGROUPS, MINORITIES, OR ENEMIES IS AN UNFORTUNATELY COMMON WAY OF REDUCING

DISSONANCE. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division [LC-USZ62-40764] Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved FINAL THOUGHTS ON DISSONANCE: LEARNING FROM OUR MISTAKES Understanding cognitive dissonance allows one to understand some extreme behaviors (e.g., Heavens Gate) Dissonance-reducing behavior maintains

self-esteem But must also learn from mistakes and incorrect beliefs Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved JUST PLAIN FOLKS THE MEMBERS OF THE HEAVENS GATE CULT WERE JUST PLAIN FOLKS OF ALL RACES, BACKGROUNDS, AND WALKS OF LIFE. YET ALMOST ALL OF THEM EVENTUALLY COMMITTED SUICIDE BECAUSE OF THEIR COMMITMENT TO THE CULT AND ITS BELIEFS, AN EXTREME RESULT OF THE MECHANISM OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE THAT ALL OF US EXPERIENCE. Source: tl: The Durango Herald/AP Images; tr: The Denver Post/AP Images; bl: Department

of Motor Vehicles/AP Images; br: Tribune Newspapers/AP Images Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved POLITICS AND SELF-JUSTIFICATION Example: War in Iraq based on belief of WMDs When no WMDs were found, had to reduce dissonance between two thoughts:

1. We believed there were WMD that justified this war 2. We were wrong Justified war by stating goal was to liberate nation from cruel dictator Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved OVERCOMING DISSONANCE

Acknowledging mistakes and taking responsibility is easier said than done Process of self-justification is unconscious, but once we know we can justify our actions, we can monitor our thinking and behavior When you are confronted with evidence that you are wrong, will you justify that mistake or strive to correct it?

Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved PROSECUTORS AND DISSONANCE AFTER DNA TESTING PROVED THAT HE COULD NOT HAVE COMMITTED THE RAPE HE WAS CONVICTED OF, DAVID LEE WIGGINS WAS RELEASED FROM A TEXAS PRISON IN 2012 AFTER SERVING 23 YEARS. HOW MIGHT DISSONANCE EXPLAIN WHY PROSECUTORS IN WRONGFUL CONVICTION CASES OFTEN HAVE A HARD TIME ACCEPTING THAT THE DEFENDANT IS ACTUALLY NOT GUILTY? Copyright 2016, 2013, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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