Actions Caused by Cognitive Dissonance Essay

919 Words 4 Pages
“If I chose to do it or say it, I must believe in it.” asserts the psychologist Leon Festinger (as cited in Psychology: Eighth Edition in Modules, 2007, p.731). When we become aware that our actions contradict our attitudes, we tend to revise our attitudes. This statement fits Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory that asserts that we act to reduce discomfort or dissonance, an unpleasant tension, we experience when two of our thoughts or cognitions are inconsistent. Mkimmie, et al. (2003) investigated the impact of social support on cognitive dissonance arousal in their experiment, “I’m a Hypocrite, but So Is Everyone Else: Group Support and the Reduction of Cognitive Dissonance.” The psychologists aimed to test the impact of social …show more content…
The fact that the level of dissonance assessed in terms of attitude change was greatest for participants given no support, but only when a shared group membership was made salient, proved their first hypothesis. The participants subjected to the highest levels of dissonance, through a high salience and nonsupport condition, distanced themselves from the group as the second hypothesis predicted. Overall, the main point of this research was to examine the role of social support in the arousal and reduction of cognitive dissonance. The researchers conducted this experiment in an effort to augment rather than change current understanding of the dissonance phenomena; however, this theory does not expand the current understanding of dissonance because it does not provide concrete, reliable evidence of how group support can reduce cognitive dissonance. Also the researchers did not test a random or a representative sample and inferred dissonance solely from surveys that measured attitude change. The fact that surveys were used as the main method to ascertain the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people weakens the theory’s reliability and validity. The wording and order of the questions could have had a major affect on how the subjects responded and possibly skewed the researcher’s central data. Additionally, the researchers did not use a direct method to detect dissonance; instead, they merely inferred the presence of dissonance exclusively from surveys

More about Actions Caused by Cognitive Dissonance Essay

Open Document