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• What is cognitive dissonance and what can you do to reduce it? Know the classic Festinger and Carlsmith study described in your textbook.
cognitive dissonance is when people find themselves doing things or saying things that don’t match their idea of themselves as smart, nice, or moral. you can reduce cognitive dissonance by : changing your conflicting behavior to make it match your attitude. Changing your current conflicting cognition to justify your behavior, and forming new cognitions to justify your behavior. festinger and carlsmith sutdy: each male student volunteer was given an hour-long, very boring task of sorting wooden spools and turning wooden pegs. After the hour, the experiments asked the participant to tell the female volunteer in the waiting room that the task was enjoyable. Half of the participants were paid $1 to try to convince the waiting woman, the others were paid $20. Those who were paid $1 for lying actually convinced themselves that the task was interesting and fun. the reason was cognitive dissonance. They experienced discomfort at thinking that they would lie to someone for only a dollar. They had to change their attitude toward the task so that they would not really be lying and could maintain their self-image of honesty. On the other hand, those paid $20 experienced no dissonance, because they knew exactly why they were lying— for lots of money— and the money was a sufficient amount to explain their behavior to their satisfaction.
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Which of the following was a finding in the classic study by Festinger and Carlsmith (1959)? A) Those who got $1 to perform a boring task said the task was more interesting than did those who got $20. B) Women performed the tasks for less money than men. C) Those who got $20 to perform a boring task said the task was more interesting than did those who got $1. D) Paid groups said the task was less boring than did nonpaid groups.
A. Those who got $1 to perform a boring task said the task was more interesting that did those who got $20
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Dr. Cirillo divided her first-period class into two groups. One group had to read 20 pages in a boring psychology text but would get 2 extra points on the next test. The other group also read 20 pages but were given 25 points added to the next test. The class members were then asked to tell the second-period class how interesting the book was. According to the results of the Festinger and Carlsmith study, what predictions could one make about the remarks of the first-period class? A) The first-period class would say the pages were interesting but the second-period class would say the pages were boring. B) The first-period class would say the pages were boring but the second-period class would not. C) Both groups would say the pages were interesting. D) Both groups would say the pages were boring.
A. The fist period class would say the pages were interesting but the second-period class would say the pages were boring
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Festinger and Carlsmith’s study in 1959 found that participants who were paid $1 to tell future participants that the experiment was enjoyable to participate in (even though it was actually incredibly boring) actually rated the experiment as more enjoyable than participants who were paid $20 to tell future participants that the experiment was enjoyable to participate in. This study illustrates
cognitive dissonance theory
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Festinger and Carlsmith Cognitive Dissonance Study
– participants made to do boring task and then convince the next participant that the task was interesting for an incentive of either $1 or $20 – They were then asked to rate the experiment and the $1 group rated it more interesting than the $20 group – The $1 group experienced dissonance from lying to the next participant. They couldn’t justify their actions using the measly $1 incentive so they changed their attitude to reduce the dissonance and thus convinced themselves the study was more interesting than it actually was – the $20 group reduced their dissonance through the added extra cognition of ”I did it for the money” to justify their actions
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Festinger and Carlsmith’s classic study on cognitive dissonance
Participants (male) arrived, seated at a table, asked to perform a series of dull, meaningless tasks for ~1 hour -Afterwards experimenter asks you to give the experiment instructions to the next participant: tell her the tasks were worthwhile, interesting, and educational -Paid either $1 or $20 to do this, then privately rate enjoyment of tasks in a questionnaire -Participants taking $1 experienced cognitive diss, because of 2 inconsistent cognitions: I did this stupid boring task, yet told this women it was fun (and only got $1 for doing it-small reward)–>feel dissonance, thus change their attitude toward the task to resolve the dissonance that way -but those with $20 did not have to change their attitudes (($20 large enoigh reward to be external justification-convinces you not to think about it)
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Festinger and Carlsmith Study
participants complete a boring task. Some were paid $1 to lie to incoming participants and say the task was enjoyable. Others were paid $20 to lie. The subjects who were only paid $1 were more likely to feel dissonance because they receive insufficient justification for lying. As a response to the dissonance those paid $1 changed their mind and said the task was actually enjoyable, to remove the dissonance. Those paid $20 believed their lies were justified and did not feel dissonance and maintained that the task was boring.
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Festinger and Carlsmith (1959)
In Festinger and Carlsmith’s classic 1959 experiment, students were asked to spend an hour on boring and tedious tasks (e.g., turning pegs a quarter turn, over and over again). The tasks were designed to generate a strong, negative attitude. Once the subjects had done this, the experimenters asked some of them to do a simple favour. They were asked to talk to another subject (actually an actor) and persuade the impostor that the tasks were interesting and engaging. Some participants were paid $20 (equivalent to $160 in present day terms) for this favour, another group was paid $1 (equivalent to $8 in present day terms), and a control group was not asked to perform the favour. When asked to rate the boring tasks at the conclusion of the study (not in the presence of the other “subject”), those in the $1 group rated them more positively than those in the $20 and control groups. This was explained by Festinger and Carlsmith as evidence for cognitive dissonance. The researchers theorized that people experienced dissonance between the conflicting cognitions, “I told someone that the task was interesting”, and “I actually found it boring.” When paid only $1, students were forced to internalize the attitude they were induced to express, because they had no other justification. Those in the $20 condition, however, had an obvious external justification for their behavior, and thus experienced less dissonance.
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