Cognitive Dissonance Paper

Topics: Cognitive dissonance, Cognition, Leon Festinger Pages: 5 (1656 words) Published: August 1, 2011
The words Cognitive Dissonance were fascinatingly interesting; therefore more research went into the origin of these two words. Both words are Middle English, which was the English in use from 12th to 15th centuries and both used in the 15th century [ (Merriam-Webster, 2011) ]. Cognitive is an adjective meaning, there is physical activity involving the mind; be it: thinking, reasoning or remembering. Dissonance is a noun meaning, when there is a tug-of- war between one’s actions and one’s mind [ (Merriam-Webster, 2011) ].This paper will explore that tug-of-war of the mind (conscious) and actions (subconscious) and how one can and will justify behavior that a direct dissension from his or her values, beliefs, attitudes and morals. Even knowing the action is wrong, the justification somehow makes it right enough to proceed with the deception. Describe the situation (Capitalize “S” for consistency)

Alice is in her mid-twenties, has a great job, a great boyfriend, and a really nice apartment right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. All was great until Alice’s boyfriend, Mark, decides not to show up to pick her up for their planned day trip. Worried, Alice drives to his house to make sure he’s alright. She knocks on the door, and a woman, also in her mid-twenties, answers. Upon introducing herself, Alice is hit with a devastating reality: this woman is her boyfriend’s long term girlfriend. All at once Alice had no idea who her boyfriend of nine months was. Too devastated to fight or question, and too angry to listen to his excuses, Alice drives home, crawls into bed, and sleeps straight through the weekend. “Monday morning,” she says to herself, “I will put this all away and go to work like normal.” But, when Monday rolls around, she can barely get out of bed. So, Alice does something beyond her realm of morality: she calls in sick when she really isn’t ill. This is something that is becoming more and more common in the workplace. Like many others, Alice has committed an ethical crime, but only to better herself. If she goes into work looking the way she does (pale and sickly) she could get into trouble and sent home. To her, it’s better to call in sick and take a few days to clean herself up than to show up looking the way she does. On top of that, people are going to question her when they see her appearance, and the unprofessionalism of bringing her personal life into the office could add up to more issues. As a part of protecting herself and her professional image, Alice decides to abandon her moral code and take a few sick days.

Social, cultural, and spiritual influences on Alice’s behavior and her ethics (capitalize the first letters – for consistency) Alice believed that she was in a wonderful relationship with her boyfriend Mark and did not suspect that he was cheating on her with his previous girlfriend until she was confronted with the situation when the supposed ex-girlfriend answered her boyfriend’s door. The rules of a monogamous relationship as dictated by society are that there is only one person the other is dating. This is what Alice believed her relationship was and therefore was completely surprised, hurt and depressed when she found out Mark was not adhering to the same societal rules she had. Alice grew up in a happy well-adjusted family. Her parents are happily married with three children. Both of her parents have fulfilling jobs and are active in their community and church. The culture Alice was raised in values hard work, strong morals, and honesty. The life goals Alice were taught were to work hard at a job that is satisfying, find love, get married, and have children. She believed she was well on the path to have all of these. Alice’s culture gave her life goals and a work ethic she is proud of. As a result she is a reliable and hard worker who is punctual and does not call out sick unless she is. When she was devastated by Mark’s cheating and was totally...

References: Merriam-Webster. (2011). Merirriam-Webster. Retrieved March 22, 2011, from Merriam-Webster:
Festinger, L. (1957). Cognitive Dissonance Theory. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. – should be before “M”
Myers, D. G. (2006). Chapter 4 – Behavior and attitudes. Retrieved from Quotations. (2010). Spencer Johnson. Retrieved March 24, 2011, from Quotations:
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