Originally published: Evanston, Ill.: Row, Peterson, c1957.
Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance has been widely recognized for its important and influential concepts in areas of motivation and social psychology. The theory of dissonance is here applied to the problem of why partial reward, delay of reward , and effort expenditure during training result in increased resistance to extinction. The author contends that a state of impasse exists within learning theory largely because some of its major assumptions stand in apparent opposition to cetain well-established experimental results. The book puts forward a new theory that seems to reconcile these data and assumptions. This new theory can account for data with which other theories have difficulty: it integrates empirical phenomena that have been regarded as unrelated, and it is supported by the results of experiments designed specifically to test its implications. These experiments are fully described in the text.
Leon Festinger's 1957 A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance is a key text in the history of psychology - one that made its author one of the most influential social psychologists of his time. It is also a prime example of how creative thinking and problem solving skills can come together to produce work that changes the way people look at questions for good. Strong creative thinkers are able to look at things from a new perspective, often to the point of challenging the very frames in which those around them see things. Festinger was such a creative thinker, leading what came to be known as the "cognitive revolution" in social psychology. When Festinger was carrying out his research, the dominant school of thought - behaviorism - focused on outward behaviors and their effects. Festinger, however, turned his attention elsewhere, looking at "cognition: " the mental processes behind behaviors. In the case of "cognitive dissonance," for example, he hypothesized that apparently incomprehensible or illogical behaviors might be caused by a cognitive drive away from dissonance, or internal contradiction. This perspective, however, raised a problem: how to examine and test out cognitive processes. Festinger's book records the results of the psychological experiments he designed to solve that problem. The results helped prove the existence for what is now a fundamental theory in social psychology.
Author: Joel Cooper
'Dr. Joel Cooper has been at the very forefront of research on dissonance theory for decades now. In this book, he provides a brilliant and engagingly-written review of the 50-year history of dissonance research and a masterful account of the ensuing developments in the theory. The book will be an outstanding resource for readers familiar with dissonance research and an enlightening introduction for those who are not' - Professor Russell H. Fazio, Ohio State University Why is it that people who smoke continue to do so knowing how bad it is for them? What drives people to committing adultery even though they inherently believe this is wrong? What's the outcome of this contradiction in the mind? Cognitive dissonance has been an important and influential theory since Leon Festinger published his classic work in 1957. It is known by every social psychologist, most psychologists of any stripe, and the lay public, making its way into such mainstream publications as The New York Times with increasing frequency and accuracy. Ultimately, dissonance has become one of the most popularly known expressions of social psychological insights, making its way into the literature in consumer, health and economic behavior, and has become a frequently used explanation of political behavior in the popular press and magazines. In marking the 50th anniversary of the theory's inception, Joel Cooper - arguably the scholar most associated with dissonance research in the past few decades - has presented a beautiful, modern and comprehensive analysis of the state of dissonance theory. This book charts the progress of dissonance theory, assessing its impact not only within our understanding of psychology but in everyday experiences as well. It should be important reading for students in social psychology, either undergraduate or graduate, but equally relevant to a host of other readers who need to understand or share the same passions for appreciating the significance of cognitive dissonance in the human psyche.
Author: Judson Mills, Eddie Harmon-Jones
Publisher: Amer Psychological Assn
Tell any smoker that his habit is unhealthy, and he most likely will agree. What mental process does a person go through when he or she continues to do something unhealthy? When an honest person tells a "white lie," what happens to his or her sense of integrity? If someone must choose between two equally attractive options, why does one's value judgement of the options change after the choice has been made? In 1954 Dr. Leon Festinger drafted a version of a theory describing the psychological phenomenon that occurs in these situations. He called it cognitive dissonance: the feeling of psychological discomfort produced by the combined presence of two thoughts that do not follow from one another. Festinger proposed that the greater the discomfort, the greater the desire to reduce the dissonance of the two cognitive elements. The elegance of this theory has inspired psychologists over the past four decades. Cognitive Dissonance: Perspectives on a Pivotal Theory in Social Psychology documents the on-going research and debate provoked by this influential theory.
When Prophecy Fails
Author: Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, Stanley Schachter
Publisher: Pinter & Martin Publishers
In 1954 Leon Festinger, a brilliant young experimental social psychologist in the process of outlining a new theory of human behavior - the theory of cognitive dissonance - and his colleagues infiltrated a cult who believed the end of the world was only months away. How would these people feel when their prophecy remained unfulfilled? Would they admit the error of their prediction, or would they readjust their reality to make sense of the new circumstances?
Attention and Self-Regulation
Author: C. S. Carver, M. F. Scheier
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
"Seek simplicity and distrust it. " Alfred North Whitehead "It will become all too clear that an ability to see patterns in behavior, an ability that some might feel proud of, can lead more easily to a wrong description than a right one. " William T. Powers The goal of the theorist-the scholar-is to take a collection of observations of the world, and perceive order in them. This process necessarily imposes an artificial simplicity upon those observations. That is, specific observations are weighed differently from each other whenever a theoretical account is abstracted from raw experiences. Some observed events are misunderstood or distorted, others are seen as representing random fluctuations and are ignored, and yet others are viewed as centrally important. This abstraction and oversimplification of reality is inevitable in theory construction. Moreover, the abstracted vision builds upon itself. That is, as a structure begins to emerge from continued observation, the structure itself guides the search for new information. The result is a construction that is more elaborate than what existed before, but it still is usually simpler than reality. It is important for scholars to believe in the value of their task, and in the general correctness of the vision that guides their work. This commitment, and the hope of progress that follows from it, make it possible to continue even when the work is difficult and slow.
A Radical Dissonance Theory
Author: Jean-Léon Beauvois, Robert-Vincent Joule
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
This text provides an account of dissonance theory and reduction. It studies the evolution of cognitive dissonance theory, providing a review and a new interpretation of Festinger's original theory - the "radical conception". The authors present research arising from this new interpretation, adding to Festinger's theory by emphasizing the importance of the status of behaviour. Their research and evidence is intended to strengthen and clarify Festinger's original and innovative arguments.
Author: Bertram Gawronski, Fritz Strack
Publisher: Guilford Press
This volume provides an overview of recent research on the nature, causes, and consequences of cognitive consistency. In 21 chapters, leading scholars address the pivotal role of consistency principles at various levels of social information processing, ranging from micro-level to macro-level processes. The book's scope encompasses mental representation, processing fluency and motivational fit, implicit social cognition, thinking and reasoning, decision making and choice, and interpersonal processes. Key findings, emerging themes, and current directions in the field are explored, and important questions for future research identified.
The Persuasion Handbook
Author: James Price Dillard, Michael Pfau
Publisher: SAGE Publications
The Persuasion Handbook provides readers with cogent, comprehensive summaries of research in a wide range of areas related to persuasion. From a topical standpoint, this handbook takes an interdisciplinary approach, covering issues of interest to interpersonal and mass communication researchers as well as psychologists and public health practitioners. Persuasion is presented in this volume on a micro to macro continuum, moving from chapters on cognitive processes, the individual, and theories of persuasion to chapters highlighting broader social factors and phenomena related to persuasion, such as social context and larger scale persuasive campaigns. Each chapter identifies key challenges to the area and lays out research strategies for addressing those challenges.
Published in 1976, Perspectives on Cognitive Dissonance is a valuable contribution to the field of Social Psychology.
Animals and Human Society
Author: Aubrey Manning, James Serpell
Modern society is beginning to re-examine its whole relationship with animals and the natural world. Until recently issues such as animal welfare and environmental protection were considered the domain of small, idealistic minorities. Now, these issues attract vast numbers of articulate supporters who collectively exercise considerable political muscle. Animals, both wild and domestic, form the primary focus of concern in this often acrimonious debate. Yet why do animals evoke such strong and contradictory emotions in people - and do our western attitudes have anything in common with those of other societies and cultures? Bringing together a range of contributions from distinguished experts in the field, Animals and Society explores the importance of animals in society from social, historical and cross-cultural perspectives.