Cognitive Dissonance

Topics: Cognitive dissonance, Cognition, Cognitive bias, Attitude change / Pages: 9 (2073 words) / Published: Oct 9th, 1999
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. Leon Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory is very closely related to many of the consistency theories. The first of the major consistency theories, the balance theory, was proposed by Fritz Heider (1946, 1958) and was later revised by Theodore Newcomb (1953) (Larson, 1995). Heider and Newcomb's theory was mostly looking at the interaction between two people (interpersonally) and the conflicts that arose between them. When two people have conflicting opinions or tension is felt between another person, it is more likely persuasion will occur. Because if no tension was felt between the two parties, or there were no conflicting opinions there would be no need to persuade each other. If you think about it persuasion occurs only because there is tension between two facts, ideas or people. Charles Larson writes in his book, Persuasion, Reception and
Responsibility, "another approach to the consistency theory is congruency theory, by Charles Osgood and Percy Tennenbaum (1955)" (p.82). This theory suggest that we want to have balance in our lives and there is a systematic way to numerically figure it out. When two attitudes collide we must strive to strike a balance between the two attitudes. The balance varies depending on

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