Cognitive Dissonance Essay Examples

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Molly Crockett and colleagues at the University College London were interested in measuring how much a person cares for another, relative to caring for themselves. They observed volunteers who were asked to make a series of decisions “between different amounts of money and different amounts of moderately painful eclectic shocks” (Crockett). Through their research, they were able “calculate how much a person was willing to sacrifice to prevent shocks to either themselves or to the receiver” (Crocket). Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort that a person feels when two of their cognitions, such as beliefs and attitudes, conflict with each other. It also occurs when a person behaves in ways that are inconsistent with their conception of themselves. …show more content…
This experience is termed cognitive dissonance. Altruistic types of behaviors can result from feelings associated with cognitive dissonance as to alleviate the discomfort that coincides with behaving in ways that conflict with beliefs and/or attitudes. Possibly similar to the participants in the experiment, a person may naturally want to sacrifice a certain amount of money to save themselves from a shock but then they may feel cognitive dissonance, such as guilt, for being morally selfish and lead to the altruistic behavior of spending more money on another person. Causing pain to others is a rather immoral act in modern society and placing a higher value on yourself over others is perceived in society as a person being selfish and egocentric. Altruistic action alleviates discomforts of cognitive dissonance that results from doing actions that society has deemed immoral and …show more content…
Next, participants the were randomly assigned to the roll of “decider” or “receiver” by drawing lots, meaning that the research was of an experimental design. To maintain anonymity and confidentiality of the participants and their decisions that were made, the researchers emphasized that their decisions would be confidential, that they were alone while making their decisions, and that they were only going to be identified by their ID number, ensuring that their identity was truly anonymous. The researchers partly exhibited so much effort to maintain anonymity amongst the participants to ensure the participants were not concerned that their reputations would be effected by what decisions they had made. Therefor, the researchers were able to assume that “when making decisions about pain for self and others, most people truly preferred to avoid harming others more than themselves.” (Crocket).
The “decider” participants were then asked to make a series of decisions between different amounts of money and different amounts of moderately painful electric shocks. The shocks were administered by an electric stimulation device called a Digitimeter, which is placed on the wrist of participants. The device is capable of administering shocks from a wide range of electric current levels. The different amounts of money and different amounts of moderately painful electric

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