Monday, September 19, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance

The article, "The Motivating Effect of Cognitive Dissonance," first tries to conceptualize the definition of dissonance. The author says that the word dissonance is an incongruence or inconsistence. A relationship has dissonance when two things occur together however in some way they do not fit together, therefore creating an incongruence. It made sense to me when the author used a persons intelligence as as example. A person might know he is very intelligent however he or she is aware they repeatedly fail. These two thoughts or cognitions are dissonant. The author then argues that this idea is motivating just as much as other need states such as hunger are motivating. I can understand where the author is coming from because he says a person will be motivated to change one of their thoughts so that they actually do fit together. The experiments the author talked about were a little confusing but still interesting. I liked the way they induced dissonance by having the students say something that didn't fit into their original beliefs. Although this was an experiment I think that people could induce dissonance on themselves without knowing, but doing so they are motivated to move away from their incongruent thoughts. This could be true with social norms and the beliefs people have about different races, cultures, and stereotypes. They might have conflicting ideas, but overall maybe be motivated to agree with others and have only one thought so that they fit in with societal norms. I think it would interesting to look into cognitive dissonance among different ethnic and religious groups in society, and how their conflicting cognitions affect and motive them.

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