Cognitive Dissonance Essay

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Cognitive Dissonance

How do human beings make decisions? What triggers a person to take action at any given point? These are all questions that I will attempt to answer with my theoretical research into Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance, as well as many of the other related theories. We often do not realize the psychological events that take place in our everyday lives. It is important to take notice of theories, such as the balance theory, the congruency theory and the cognitive dissonance theory so that one's self-persuasion occurs knowingly. As psychologist and theorist gain a better understanding of
Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory manipulation could occur more easily than it already does in today's society.
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The action taken would create psychological consistency in one's mind. These theories are very interesting and have been quite researched, but none more so than Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance.
Leon Festinger's theory, unlike the others I have described, deal with quantitative aspects, as well as qualitative. That's what is so different and revolutionary about Festinger's theory. Robert Wicklund and Jack Brehm (1976), in their book Perspectives on Cognitive Dissonance, write,“ Most notably, the original statement of dissonance theory included propositions about the resistance-to-change of cognitions and about the proportion of cognitions that are dissonant, both of which allowed powerful and innovative analyses of psychological situations (p.1). The term “dissonance” refers to the relation between two elements. When two elements do not fit together they are considered dissonant. Cognitive dissonance can be broken down into a number of elements. As
Brehm and Cohen (1962) write, “A dissonant relationship exist between two cognitive elements when a person possesses one which follows the obverse of another that he possesses. A person experiences dissonance, that is, a motivational tension, when he (or she) has cognitions among which there are one or more dissonant relationships”

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