Leon Festinger's Cognitive Dissonance Theory

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Leon Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory holds that people seek to reduce inharmonious cognitions. Like dissonant notes in music, these inconsistent thoughts are very grating to the individual. Measures must be taken to alleviate the tension brought on by the inconsistency. The intensity of the dissonance depends on the ratio between dissonant cognitions. The desire to relieve that pressure will intensify as the gap becomes wider. Cognitive dissonance reduction methods include: eliminating one of the inconsistent cognitions, adding positive thoughts to one side, altering one’s behaviors or actions in relation to the dissonance, trivializing the scenario, and acquiring positive social support (Nail, 2016). Each of these steps are taken to create a more harmonious mental narrative.
An example of reducing dissonance through social support: your favorite band is coming to town and you paid a high price for concert tickets; however, the band is terrible live. This would create cognitive dissonance. You could reduce dissonance by finding friends that enjoy the band and love them live. Having a support system will make it easier to eliminate the dissonant cognitions and conform to the people around you.
Many studies over the years have been conducted on
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Dissonance is obviously a popular topic of research. Most cognitive dissonance replication studies have enforced the reliability of cognitive dissonance theory. An example of a study utilizing the role-playing paradigm is the counter-attitudinal essay study in which students were asked to write an essay on the pros of a tuition increase, opposing their own beliefs. The essay was supposedly written so the board of the university could see both sides of the argument. This paradigm relied heavily on the use of deception on the part of the researcher as there was really no raise in tuition being considered at the

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