Attitudes and Decision Making

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Attitudes and Decision Making


       Tension arises when we are simultaneously aware of two inconsistent cognitions

      e.g., realizing that your behaviour doesn’t match your attitude

       We attempt to reduce that tension

Classic Study: Festinger & Carlsmith (1959)

  1. Subjects asked to twist wooden pegs placed in a board for 30 minutes
  2. Then asked to put spools of thread onto pegs and take them off again for 30 minutes
  3. Then asked to tell the next subject that the study was enjoyable and fun
  4. Two conditions:

       Condition1: Subjects paid $1 for doing the briefing

       Condition 2: Subjects paid $20 for doing the briefing

  1. After they had done that, original subjects asked how much they had enjoyed the study

Those with high cognitive dissonance were the group paid only $1 to take part in the study. They convinced themselves that they enjoyed taking part in the experiment more than they actually did to compensate doing such a mediocre task for such a small amount of money.

How can dissonance be reduced?

  1. Change the behaviour
  2. Change


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