Cognitive Dissonance

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Cognitive Dissonance is a psychological discomfort caused by inconsistency among a person's belief, attitudes, and or actions. There are three hypotheses that explain the theory. The first hypothesis is selective exposure which is the tendency to avoid information inconsistent with one's belief and attitudes. One only accepts information that is consistent with their own thoughts. Hypothesis two is post-decision dissonance; which are close call decisions and can affect a decision one makes. And the third hypothesis is minimal justification, which is a counter attitudinal action, freely chosen with little incentive or justification, leading to a change in attitude (Craig, R., 1998, http://www.colorado.edu/communication/meta-discourses/Theory/dissonance/).

People hold a multitude of cognitions simultaneously, and these cognitions form irrelevant, consonant or dissonant relationships with one another. Cognitive Irrelevance probably describes the bulk of the relationships among persons' cognitions. Irrelevance simply means that the two cognitions have nothing to do with each other. Two cognitions are consonant if one cognition follows from, or fits with, the other. People like consonance among their cognitions. We do not know whether this stems from the nature of the human organism or whether it is learned during the process of socialization, but people appear to prefer cognitions that fit together to those that do not. It is this simple observation that gives the theory of cognitive dissonance its interesting form (Rudolph, F., http://www.ithaca.edu/faculty/stephens/cdback.html). To understand the alternatives open to an individual in a state of dissonance, we must first understand the factors that affect the magnitude of dissonance arousal. First, in its simplest form, dissonance increases as the degree of discrepancy among cognitions increases. Second, dissonance increases as the number of discrepant cognitions increases. Third, dissonance is inversely...
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