Cognitive Dissonance Analysis: Stepping Out of Assigned Roles

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Running Head: Cognitive Dissonance Analysis Cognitive Dissonance Analysis: Stepping Out of Assigned Roles Randi Cutler Lehigh University Abstract Research conducted by Leon Festinger and James M. Carlsmith has shown promise for the effects of cognitive dissonance on personal belief, and the adjustment of those beliefs to match publicly supported, yet contradictory arguments. We are testing to see whether the cognitive dissonance theory can be overcome by explicitly telling participants to step out of the role that they were assigned to. Participants included fifteen female and five male Lehigh undergraduates who watched a video clip about the relevance of aquatic theory, and were then told to evaluate that theory from an…show more content…
The independent variables are the two groups that participants in class were split up into. The first group was the assenting group and the second was the dissenting group. These factors were manipulated by having participants write a assenting or dissenting response paper about the clip on Aquatic theory. We looked at whether being in either group had an impact on agreement with the speaker. The dependent variable is the effect of either group on cognitive dissonance. It was calculated by averaging the responses of individual agreement with the speaker. Materials Materials included the video from TED, the assignment sheet with a) whether each participant was assenting or dissenting, b) what questions to answer once assigned to a condition, c) a survey using a 5-pt Likert scale ranging from 0(not at all) to 4 (extremely) removing participants from assigned roles, and including only their real thoughts and feels, and d) assignment sheet 2 with bulleted outline for this write up. Procedure Participants watched the clip from TED, “Elaine Morgan says we evolved from aquatic apes.” Afterwards participants were assigned to an assenting or a dissenting condition based on randomly separating by first letter in last name, and asked to answer questions from the point of view of their assigned role. Afterwards, participants were asked

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