Punishment and Self-Persuasion in Adam and Eve Essay

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Using Punishment and Self-Persuasion to Explain Adam and Eve The Book of Genesis tells the story of how God created man and woman. He permitted Adam and Eve to eat from any tree in his garden except the Tree of Knowledge, and they faced death if they did. They were handed out a severe threat; that of death. As we all know, Adam and Eve did eat from the tree of knowledge and were banished from the Garden of Eden. Looking at the situation from a social psychology perspective, I will examine why that was the case, and what God could have theoretically done to be obeyed. In other words, I will discuss why a mild threat might have worked better in this case.
What is forbidden is desired. This age-old adage is the source of Adam and Eve’s …show more content…

They have some sort of justification but not complete enough to explain why they haven’t tasted the forbidden fruit yet. Their answer does not serve to reduce dissonance like in the other case, so they look for other means to give grounds for their lack of action. One way to reduce their dissonance is to convince themselves that they don’t really want to eat the fruit. To complete their internal justification, Adam and Eve might expand on that and decide that the fruit is not that tasty. They might make up excuses such as “it doesn’t look great, so it must taste bad” or something along those lines.
The kind of punishment God chooses to hand out starts a chain of events: The harsher the threat, the more external justification there is, the less the need for internal justification. On the other hand, the milder the punishment, the less external justification there is, the more the need for external justification.
Does this theory hold up in controlled experiments? Elliot Aronson and J. Merrill Carlsmith (1963) concluded that “parents who use punishment to encourage their children to adopt desirable values should keep the punishment mild” (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert 2009, p.165) when they tested a situation similar to this one (their forbidden toy experiment).
Up to this point, we have discussed how a milder threat could have worked instead of a more severe one. We hope that Adam and Eve’s realization that the fruit is totally undesirable would hold for

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