Cognitive Dissonance And Its Effect On Behavior

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People experience cognitive dissonance when they perceive that there is a mismatch between their attitudes and behaviors. Because we are motivated to keep our cognitions consistent, the inconsistency brought about by dissonance becomes a drive that must be reduced. This is done by changing either the attitude or the behavior such that they may accurately align with each other. Eventually, the New Look model to dissonance will shift the causal path to an explanation using avoidance of aversive consequences, but still resulting in the same need to reduce cognitive inconsistency. Finally, addressing the limitations of the former, the Self-Standards approach operationalizes the nature of aversive consequences as violations of societal or…show more content…
As in the self-standards model, they do not experience dissonance because they believe that their actions will never result in aversive circumstances, nor are they violating any social standards as they believe in the righteousness of all these events.
Within Joel Cooper’s exposition of the development of cognitive dissonance theory, he frequently alternates between accounts of inconsistent cognitions (and attitude-behavior discrepancies) and the aversive consequences of one’s actions as the determinants of dissonance. Empirically, Cooper elucidates that the reason behind the attitude change of the participants from Leon Festinger’s original study is not the inconsistency between their dislike of the given task (attitude) and the need to present it as enjoyable to a confederate next in line (behavior) per se: Instead, the need to deceive another person of the nature of the task is itself an undesirable circumstance that brings a state of dissonance. However, upon discussing vicarious dissonance and the application of the theory to social concerns, the focus again shifts to the failure to follow one’s self-sanctions. As demonstrated in the hypocrisy paradigm where people are made aware of their violations of personal standards (or vicariously observing ingroup members admitting their lapses), dissonance is aroused because they have done things in the past
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