Cognitive Dissonance In Skinner's Box

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Alleviating Cognitive Dissonance In the chapter “Quieting the Mind” of the book, Opening Skinner’s Box, author Lauren Slater examines the theory of cognitive dissonance. Leon Festinger, a psychologist at the University of Minnesota, originally introduced the theory of cognitive dissonance to psychology in 1957. The basic way of thinking about cognitive dissonance is that it refers to a situation when two or more cognitive elements (such as behaviors and attitudes/ beliefs) are inconsistent, causing psychological stress and discomfort. Festinger tested his theory by constructing several experiments to observe if participants changed their beliefs to be congruent with their behaviors. The results are that people have an inner drive to hold …show more content…
By changing their attitude or beliefs it creates a justification to their hypocrisy. For example the study Festinger observed about a cult who believed the earth would be destroyed by a flood experienced cognitive dissonance when the event failed to occur (Slater 115). Their beliefs became inconsistent. So they rationalized the circumstances in an attempt to justify their actions and beliefs. They indicated that the flood did not occur due to the cult spreading so much light that God saved the world from destruction. In other words they re-interpreted the evidence to conform their cognitive relation and keep mental harmony and make sense of what …show more content…
In other words, creating approved attitudes or beliefs that will coexist with the behavior. In an Undergraduate Research Journal, Shawn Gaulden, a sociologist major and student at the University of Central Florida, clearly identifies this method in his study. Gaulden’s research (as cited in Mahaffy, 1996), discovered that Christian lesbians resolved cognitive dissonance when their religious teachings contradicted their sexual identity (85). Christian lesbian’s defense mechanism to cognitive dissonance was to change their beliefs because it is nearly impossible to change the beliefs of the Christian community. So, they accommodate and harmonize their beliefs instead. They adopt the idea that Christianity accepts their sexual identity to synchronize with their behavior. Once again, pursuing that psychological stability that humans strongly desire for. These are great examples of how the human mind works to achieve self-conformity and cognitive

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