Cognitive Dissonance: Behavior and Changing Attitudes

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Cognitive Dissonance: Behavior and Changing Attitudes Penny Duley PSYCH/555 October 7, 2012 Dr. Jay Greiner Abstract After reading the article “Does Cognitive Dissonance Explain Why Behavior Can Change Attitudes?” the writers will summarize the two arguments brought up in the discussion. They will also define the consonant and dissonant cognitions. The writers will discuss the influence between consonant and dissonant cognitions and the attitudes and behaviors that are shown. The concept of persuasion and the relationship that it has with concepts in Issue 5 will be the last discussion. Argument Summary The argument that is being discussed is portrayed in two parts. The first part is from social psychologist Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith. These social psychologists believe that when a person’s attitude changes after they act in a way that contradicts the person’s “true or normal” attitude it is called cognitive dissonance. The second argument is by social psychologist Daryl Bem who believes that the self-perception a person has can explain the difference in how a person acts and their “true or normal” attitude. Cognition The way an individual thinks, the way he or she makes decisions, chooses how to behave, what to believe, or personal attitudes, is all cognitive processes. Every thought involves cognition, whether they are agreeing thoughts, substantiating a person’s beliefs, and motivating desired behavior or causing internal conflict and initiating variations between attitudes and behaviors. Cognitive consonance or dissonance interprets how a person’s thoughts and beliefs interact with personal attitudes and behaviors. Consonant Cognition Consonant cognition results when a person’s thoughts are in social agreement where beliefs, attitudes, behavior and knowledge are all in unison. This is the desired state of human cognition, that

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