After reading The Motivating Effect of Cognitive Dissonance, by Leon Festinger I found the concept of Cognitive Dissonance to be both interesting and a clear motivating factor within individuals. In this article, Festinger gave us an example of reduction dissonance that took place in individuals that believed numerous times that a flood was going to end the earth. These individuals also believed that aliens would come to earth to rescue them from this great flood. Of course neither of these events took place, and the individuals were left trying to reduce the dissonance by explaining away why these events did not occur as they had predicted.
A more current example of Cognitive Dissonance, is Harold Camping's many followers before and after his highly publicized prediction of the Judgement day. Many individuals ran around in fear on May 21, 2011 not knowing what to expect, and waiting for the world to end. This is not the first time Harold Camping has made a false prediction about the Judgment day. Camping's first prediction was in 1994, and like May 21, 2011, that date came and went. Camping is now predicting that the world will end October 21, 2011. There are many individuals who continue to follow Camping even though his predictions are proven wrong time and time again. Many refuse to realize that although Camping claims to be Christian his beliefs and doctrine are questionable, and suggest otherwise. In fact, the Bible clearly states, "But of that day and [that] hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." (King James Version Mark 13:32-33)
I feel that Cognitive Dissonance is a strong motivational factor within humans. This can be clearly seen through the individuals in the article and Harold Camping's faithful followers. These instances also prove that it is very common for individuals to change different aspects of situations or form excuses, to lesson or eliminate the Dissonance.