Cognitive Dissonance Analysis: Stepping Out of Assigned Roles

2158 Words Oct 6th, 2010 9 Pages
Running Head: Cognitive Dissonance Analysis

Cognitive Dissonance Analysis: Stepping Out of Assigned Roles

Randi Cutler
Lehigh University

Abstract Research conducted by Leon Festinger and James M. Carlsmith has shown promise for the effects of cognitive dissonance on personal belief, and the adjustment of those beliefs to match publicly supported, yet contradictory arguments. We are testing to see whether the cognitive dissonance theory can be overcome by explicitly telling participants to step out of the role that they were assigned to. Participants included fifteen female and five male Lehigh undergraduates who watched a video clip about the relevance of aquatic theory, and were then told to evaluate that theory from an
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On the contrary, our study proves to be clearer in distinguishing when it is no longer necessary to continue supporting an assigned role. Participants in the class experiment were shown a video clip about the controversial aquatic theory. Afterwards, divided equally into 2 groups by the first letter of their last names, participants were asked to put their personal views aside and make an argument either for or against the ideas presented in the clip. Following that writeup, students were asked to abandon their assigned roles and fill out a survey using their own personal beliefs on the theory. The purpose of our study is to determine whether the cognitive dissonance theory can be overcome by explicitly telling participants to step out of the role that they were assigned to. We predict that the participants’ original beliefs will be affected and altered by the condition that they were randomly assigned to, and that more students will favor their assigned role in the final survey. Our main focus is on the true cause for the participants’ changes in belief, the need for cognitive equilibrium, and on notion that the participants in by Festinger and Carlsmith’s study may still have been acting.
Method
Participants Participants included twenty Lehigh University undergraduates, all between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. Five of the twenty were male, and fifteen of the twenty were female. All of the participants were involved in the study as a part of a

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