Cognitive Dissonance

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Assignment for
The Fourth Batch, Second Semester
BSS (Hons.)

* Session : 2009-2010. * Course no. : MCJ-106. * Course name : Mass Communication: Structure & Process * Assigned by : Shaonti Haider. * Assignment prepared by: Khandaker Tanjima Elham Bristy. (Roll no. - 45)

Communication is an essential process in our everyday life. Each & every moment we communicate- with others or with ourselves. Communication is a non-stop process which we carry out in both conscious & subconscious states. But various terms, advantages & problems are related with communication. I am a second semester student of the ‘Mass Communication & Journalism’ department. Although it is very early, I have learnt lots of things about communication & related to communication from our classes. One of the things is ‘Cognitive Dissonance’.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE
Aesop tells a story (‘The Fox & the Grapes’; the source of the phrase ‘sour grapes’) about a fox that tried in vain to reach a cluster of grapes hanging from a vine high above his head. The fox jumped high to grasp the grapes, but the delicious-looking fruit remained out of reach of his snapping jaws. After a few attempts the fox gave up & said to himself, “These grapes are sour & if I had some I would not eat them.”

This example follows a pattern: one desires something, finds it unattainable, and reduces one's dissonance by criticizing it. Jon Elster calls this pattern "adaptive preference formation". The story demonstrates what former Stanford University social psychologist Leon Festinger called cognitive dissonance. It is the distressing mental state in which people feel they “find themselves doing things that do not fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold” (Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., 1957, page 4).

Cognitive

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