Dissonance Theory

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cause that individual to change overall attitudes toward an object. An alternative to Rosenberg's theory is Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance. While Rosenberg's theory deals with affect and cognition, Festinger's theory examines consistency among cognitive elements or beliefs about oneself, behavior, or environment. Dissonance occurs when elements are logically inconsistent or psychologically inconsistent because of cultural mores, specific opinions deviating from more encompassing opinions, or information or experiences that are contrary to previous information or experiences. Dissonance motivates the individual to reduce the dissonance and return to consonance. When faced with dissonance, the individual seeks to avoid situations or information that may increase dissonance.…show more content…
Studies on counter-attitudinal advocacy are based on dissonance theory. Individuals who are asked to write an essay or present a speech promoting a position contrary to their beliefs become committed to certain aspects of the contrary position. This causes dissonance, which the individuals attempt to reduce by changing their original position or attitude. The stronger the magnitude of the dissonance, the stronger the need to change the original attitude. The simple act of decision making creates dissonance, too. The magnitude of the dissonance is related to the importance of the decision and the attractiveness of both the chosen and the unchosen alternatives. Researchers have a better understanding of the interactions between attitudes and opinions and actions and behaviors, so consistency theories that are not directly related to processes are of little interest to today's cognitive scientists who tend to be more process oriented than behaviorists who studied consistency
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