Leon Festinger Research Paper

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Introduction and Approach: * Leon Festinger is not only a highly acclaimed genius and social psychologist; he is a passionate and ground breaking innovator in his field. * Born on May 8th, 1919 in New York City, Leon achieved his first baccalaureate degree in psychology from City College of New York in 1939. * Straight out of college Leon was a hit. Working with Max Hertzman on level of aspiration, the duo published a piece in the Journal of Experimental Psychology only a year after he gained his first degree. * The hard worker definitely did not stop there however. Leon got his MA and PhD from the State University of Iowa as well and soon became a research associate. Leon worked all over the United States in several institutes such as MIT, Michigan, and Stanford to work on his Research Center for Group Dynamics. * There are two major theories that made Festinger not only a world-wide known name, but also the first name to come to any professionals mind when it comes to social psychology. * These are the Social Comparison Theory and the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. * I will be primarily discussing the Social Comparison theory during this presentation, however Leon’s approach to experiments created a unique design of research and theory that is now common in the field of social psychology. * Leon liked to formulate his problems as oppositions of habits. During all of his experiments he highly believed that the average person shuns oppositions and seeks for a resolution. * Leon, being an avid researcher on decisions showed that decision alternatives are conflicting forces, and through experiments the interaction of conflicting tendencies could be understood as motivational foreshadowing of people’s behavior. The habit of these conflicting tendencies allows great hypothesis on the end result of the behavior.
Social Comparison Theory: * In Leon’s work on social comparison, he put out the need to understand against the lack of



Bibliography: Akiba, H. T. (2009). Title: Is cognitive dissonance an intrinsic property of the human mind? an experimental solution to a half-century debate. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/ps/retrieve.do?sgHitCountType=None&sort=DA- SORT&inPS=true&prodId=PPPC&userGroupName=lincclin_bwcc&tabID=T002&searc hId=R4&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&contentSegment=&searchType=BasicSearchF orm¤tPosition=2&contentSet=GALE|A210089464&&docId=GALE|A210089464&docT ype=GALE&role= Although the least cited of all my sources, this research showed me the other theories that Festinger accomplished, and allowed me to realize and understand several other concepts that he was discussing during his lifetime. Arrowood, J. A. (1993). Social comparison: Contemporary theory and research. The Psychological Record, Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/ps/retrieve.do?sgHitCountType=None&sort=DA- SORT&inPS=true&prodId=PPPC&userGroupName=lincclin_bwcc&tabID=T002&searc hId=R6&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&contentSegment=&searchType=BasicSearchF orm¤tPosition=1&contentSet=GALE|A14082690&&docId=GALE|A14082690&docTyp e=GALE&role= This specific book review allowed me to understand how Festinger’s theory and how it was expanded upon and changed throughout the world of psychology. It helped me put into my notes how social psychology has changed because of Festinger’s thoughts. Festinger, L. (n.d.). A theory of social comparison process. Retrieved from http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/faculty/friedkin/Syllabi/Soc147/ATheoryofSocialComparisonPr ocesses.pdf This paper, written by Festinger himself was probably my best source of information on the subject of his Social Comparison Theory and its expansions. It showed me several experiments that he worked on, the results, and his personal input on it. Vidyarthi, P. R. (2010). Where do i stand? examining the effects of leader-member exchange social comparison on employee work behaviors. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=3&hid=7&sid=11a33b29-3228-4f03-b804- 9b84eb75c36b@sessionmgr11&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ== This specific experiment and examination also allowed to me understand how Festinger’s theory is applied in the real life and out of the field of psychology. It really helped me realize how psychology in general explains a lot of factors in life. Zajonc, R. B. (1990). Leon festinger (1919–1989). Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=ace87c6a-b57f-4c06- 8d16a7fc126ff457@sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=107&bdata=JnNpdG U9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ== This article gave me a strong insight into Leon’s early life and accomplishments throughout his life. It also allowed me to understand how his style is implemented in social psychology today and what he’s done for the world of psychology.

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