Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance

Along with a majority of the previous posts, I also did not fully understand the article as a whole but I did grasp the concept of what dissonance was and the class discussion today helped me further understand the meaning. Festinger does a good job giving examples of this unpleasant togetherness that he talks about, but hearing the examples presented in class about the ideals and life itself made it much more clearer for me. Also ironically we discussed cognitive dissonance in my social psychology class just last week, so it was interesting to hear the different definitions and examples given in that class as opposed to the ones given in this class. The notion of cognitive dissonance is a contradiction to the ideals of something and what actually happens, life. The example Festinger uses in the article about the person who is very intelligent but often meets repeated failure is a great example of this. The ideal is for the person to do well as an intelligent individual but what actually happens is that he is met with repeated failure. Another example that I can think of along these lines is studying for an exam. The ideal would be that you do well on the test by studying hard, maybe instead of going out, but what often happens is you hang out with your friends instead of studying as much as you could of and not doing as well on the exam. However, this could be extremely motivating for a person who notices this contradiction between what they want to happen and what really does. The intelligent person may strive harder to avoid failure as does the person who decided to hang out instead of study so much. If they notice this dissonance that is taking place then they may strive to change it which in the end could be an extremely motivating thing.

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