6. Cognitive Dissonance Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in 6. Cognitive Dissonance Deck (25):

What is cognitive dissonance?

A feeling of discomfort caused by performing an action that is inconsistent with one's positive self-image.
Holding 2 or more inconsistent cognitions.


What are 3 ways to reduce dissonance?

Change our behaviour to align with dissonant cognition
Change one of the dissonant cognitions to justify our behaviour
Add new cognitions to justify our behaviour (self-affirmation)


What is self-affirmation?

Person focuses on his/her good qualities to lessen the dissonant sting caused by doing something foolish. It is a way of adding a new cognition to reduce cognitive dissonance.


Why do we overestimate the pain of disappointment?

Because we soon put a positive spin on the disappointing outcome to make us feel better.


What is impact bias?

The tendency to overestimate the intensity and duration of our negative emotional reactions. We fail to realise that dissonance reduction will eventually save us from the anguish.


Dissonance is most painful when one of the cognitions is about the ______.



People with the ______ self-esteem experience the most dissonance when they behave in ways contrary to their expectations of themselves.

highest. They will work harder to reduce it than those with low or average levels of self-esteem.


Which group of people is fairly immune from dissonance?



How does boosting self-esteem via self-affirmation result in better academic performance?

African American children. Boosting self-esteem that is grounded in reality helps the person focus on their strengths and positive values, which strives to make them consonant with their actions, making them strive harder at school to upkeep that positive image of themselves.


What is post-decision dissonance?

The uncomfortable feeling associated with the negatives of their chosen option, and the positives of the alternative option.


How does your brain reduce post-decision dissonance?

Focus on the positives and downplay the negatives of your chosen option. Downplay positives and focus on negatives of alternative option.


The more permanent and less revocable decisions, the ______ the need to reduce dissonance

stronger. (eg. horse racing bets; photography)


How do salesmen create the illusion of irrevocability?



Give 3 reasons why lowballing works.

1) a committment of sorts exist
2) the feeling of committment triggered the anticipation of the exciting event
3) the final price is only slightly higher than the price at the other dealership


The way people reduce dissonance following a difficult moral decision has implications for _________.

whether they behave more or less ethically in the future.
Not merely a rationalization of your own behaviour, but a change in system of values. Two people acting in two different ways could have started out with almost identical attitudes toward cheating. After making their decisions, their attitudes toward cheating would diverge sharply as a consequence of their actions.


What does the evolutionary perspective propose about cognitive dissonance?

experiments with monkeys and chimps support the notion that cognitive dissonance has some built-in, adaptive functions


How does dissonance operate differently across cultures?

Collectivist societies
- More likely to see people experiencing dissonance when their behaviour shames or disappoints others, rather than personal misbehavior.
- visibility of choice: more dissonance when being observed.
Multicultural America
- immigrant children experience dissonance between their parents cultures, and needing to fit in with their friends.


What is the justification of effort?

The tendency for people to increase their liking for something they have worked hard to attain.


What is counter attitudinal advocacy?

Occurs when we claim to have an attitude that differs from our true beliefs. When we do this with little external justification, our attitudes start to conform more to the lie we told because we attempt to find internal justification.


How to induce people to change an attitude?

Get them to write an essay supporting the change and give them a small incentive. When given only a small fee, people needed to convince themselves that there was some truth in what they had written. The smaller the external incentive, the greater the attitude change.


Which sort of punishment will be most effective in getting a child to stop engage in a behavior in the long term through intrinsic motivation?

Insufficient punishment.
The less severe the threat, the less external justification, the higher the need for internal justification. Child will reduce his dissonance by convincing himself that he doesn’t want to engage in the behavior, and over time he will go further in his quest for internal justification and ultimately fully believe that the prohibited behavior is wrong. Shows how self-justification can lead to self-persuasion. Self-persuasion is more permanent than direct attempts at persuasion because it takes place internally and not because of external threats or pressure.


What are the effects of insufficient punishment?

Mild punishment -- external justification is not convincing enough, so the child finds another way to justify his compliance. So he turns to internal justification and change his attitude to reduce his dissonance.


Describe the hypocrisy induction paradigm.

Make people aware of the dissonance between what they are doing and what they are preaching to others. Highest dissonance group (hypocrisy group)
Compose arguments + recite in front of video camera and told that high school students will watch it. Aware that they were preaching behavior they were not practicing. To reduce dissonance and maintain their self-esteem, they need to start practicing what they preached.


What does dissonance theory predict about justifying acts of kindness?

Dissonance theory predicts that we will like the person more after doing a small favour for them.
Be kind to a friend → no dissonance
Be kind to a stranger/enemy → dissonance


According to dissonance theory, why does dehumanizing the enemy justify cruelty?

It is a way of reducing dissonance. When someone calls another person cruel names, they convince themselves that he deserves to be insulted this way. The need to reduce dissonance can change attitudes toward an innocent victim. The closer people are to committing acts of cruelty, the greater their need to reduce their dissonance between “I am good and kind” and “I am causing suffering to another human”. So the easiest route is to blame the victim.