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Psych 288 Chapter 6 Notes

by: mkennedy24

Psych 288 Chapter 6 Notes Psych 288


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These notes cover materials from both lecture power points and from the textbook as well as examples
Psychology of Social Behavior
Dr. S. Gervais
Class Notes
Psych 288, psych, Psychology of Social Behavior, Psychology, Social Behavior, social psychology
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by mkennedy24 on Tuesday March 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psych 288 at University of Nebraska Lincoln taught by Dr. S. Gervais in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Psychology of Social Behavior in Psychlogy at University of Nebraska Lincoln.


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Date Created: 03/08/16
Chapter 6: The Need to Justify Our Actions  The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance o Section 6.1 Objective: What is cognitive dissonance, and how do people avoid dissonance to maintain a positive self image? o Cognitive dissonance: The discomfort that people feel when two cognitions (beliefs, attitudes) conflict or when they behave in ways that are inconsistent with their conception of themselves  Festinger: Dissonance results from preforming an action that is discrepant from one’s self-concept  Threat to self-esteem  How can cognitive dissonance be reduced?  By changing our behavior to being it in line with the dissonant cognition  start exercising  By attempting to justify our behavior through changing gone of the dissonant cognitions  exercise is not that important  By attempting to justify our behavior by adding new cognitions  who wants to be healthy anyways?  Example: Smoking cigarettes  Smokers know smoking increases deadly diseases o Most direct way to reduce this dissonance is to stop smoking o Those who quit but end up relapsing actually end up changing perceptions about smoking; lowered perceptions of the dangers of smoking o Self-Affirmation: In context of dissonance, a way or reducing dissonance by reminding oneself of one or more of one’s positive attributes  Focusing on good things rather than bad to reduce dissonance  “Yeah I feel stupid for smoking, but man, am I a good cook! Let me show you. . . You can change one of your cognitions Or you could add consonant cognitions Cigs don’t cause cancer Cigs are so relaxing! But How?? You experience DISSONANCE! An unpleasant arousal state that you are motivated to reduce Here you are, a reasonably happy, content person with a good amount of self-esteem Then you do something that goes against your image of yourself. . .something stupid, immoral, or selfish o o o Modern Approaches to Self-Esteem Maintenance:  Self-Affirmation Theory (Steele, 1988)  People view self as good, competent, and moral  When this view is threatened:  Deal directly with threat  Affirm self in unrelated domain o Self-Evaluation Maintenance Theory (Tesser, 1988)  Focus on interpersonal relationships  People act in ways to maintain self-esteem  Three variables of interest:  Closeness to other people  Relevance of activity to self-esteem  Performance level on the activity o Human thinking is not all rational but rationalizing o Why do we overestimate the pain of disappointment?  Impact Bias: The tendency to overestimate the intensity and duration of one’s emotional reactions to future negative thoughts  Example: People overestimate how dreadful they will feel after a romantic breakup. But people end up reducing dissonance by realizing how much better off they are without them o Decisions  Distorting our likes and dislikes  Post-Decision Dissonance: Dissonance aroused after making a decision typically reduced by enhancing the attractiveness of the chosen alternative and devaluing the rejected alternative  In a study, women we given a chance to rate appliances and told after the study, they would be able to take the most favored appliance with them. After the women had rated the appliances, it had turned out that two appliances were rated very similar, so the experimenters told the women to rate between the two highly favored appliances as to which one they wanted. As it turned out, the women ended up rating one of the appliances higher than before and the other (which was rated the same before) was now rated as lower than the other.  The Permanence of the Decision  Finality of decisions makes people happier with their decisions  Creating the Illusion of Irrevocability  Irrevocability of a decision always increases dissonance and the motivation to reduce it  Lowballing: An unscrupulous strategy whereby a salesperson induces a customer to agree to purchase a product at a low cost, subsequently claims it was an error, and then raises the price, frequently the customer will agree to make the purchase at the inflated price o 3 Reasons This Works:  Even though the decision is reversible, a sort of commitment exists  Not getting the car and not driving away with a new care is a let down  “Price isn’t that much higher, what the heck, Ill just get the car”  The Decision to Behave Immorally  Dissonance across cultures o Collectivist Societies: Where needs of group matter more than needs of a particular person  Dissonance reducing behavior might be less prevalent at least on the surface o Individualist Societies: Where needs of a particular person matter more than the needs of a group  Self Justification in Everyday Life o Section 6.2 Objective: How does cognitive dissonance operate in everyday life, and what are some constructive ways of reducing? o The Justification of Effort  How do you reduce the dissonance form finding out the club you put so much effort into joining, turns out to be full of boring pompous people?  You may try to convince yourself the people in the group are nice than first glance.  Effort Justification: Effort + Choice = Dissonance  Fraternities initiations  Festinger: “We come to love the things we suffer for”  Justification of Effort: The tendency for individuals to increase their liking for something they have worked hard to attain  Joining a frat or sorority and going through hazing  Internal versus External Justification  Internal Justification: The reduction of dissonance by changing something about oneself (e.g. one’s attitudes or behaviors) o If your friend is wanting to know what you think of her new dress and you think it is ugly what do you say? She also mentioned she just took the dress in and couldn’t return it. If your friend is wealthy and buying another dress that isn’t ugly wouldn’t bother her and you know this lying to her may cause dissonance, so, you find something non-external to reduce dissonance like by changing your attitude or behavior about the dress by finding specific parts that you like  External Justification: A reason or explanation for dissonant personal behavior that resides outside that individual (e.g. to receive a large reward or avoid severe punishment o Lying to your friend about her dress because she already got it altered and cannot return it. o Counterattitudinal Advocacy: Stating an opinion or attitude that runs counter to one’s private belief or attitude  Saying or fining things about the dress that you like might end up changing your overall opinion about the dress. “Saying becomes believing”  You know you have this new jacket that your mom bought you but in order to save her forming having to return it and hurting her feelings, you point out small things about the jacket that counter what you actually feel about the jacket. o The Lasting Effects of Self Persuasion  Insufficient punishment: The dissonance around when individuals lack sufficient external justification for having resisted a desired activity or object. Usually resulting in individuals devaluing the forbidden activity or object  Self-Persuasion: A long-lasting form of attitude change that results from attempts at self-justification  Experimenters told preschoolers to rate some toys. Whatever toy was more favorable, the experimenters ended up telling the children that the toy was forbidden. Some of the children were told a more severe punishment if they were to play with the toy while others were told a more mild punishment if they were to play with the toy. Then the experimenter left the room o Children with mild-threat conditions ended up convincing themselves that the forbidden toy isn’t as great as it once seemed o Children with severe-threat conditions ended up playing with the toy that was forbidden in the beginning the first chance they had  Self-persuasion is more permanent because it happened internally and not due to external coaxing, threats, or pressure o After months later, the experimenters came back to test the kids again and the same kids who were given the mild- threat conditions still had kept to their persuasion about the toy while the severe threat conditioned children played with the toy.  Not just tangible rewards or punishments  You want a person to do something or not do something only once Mild Threat = High o Promise a large reward Dissonance o Threaten a severe punishment  You want a person to become committed to an Severe Threat = Low attitude or behavior dissonance o The smaller the reward or punishment that will lead to momentary compliance, the greater the eventual change in attitude and therefore the more permanent the effect Large reward or severe punishmentternal justification (I do or think this because I have tTemporary Change Small reward or mild punishment Internal Justification (I do or think this because I have convinced myself that it’s right)e  The Hypocrisy Paradigm o Hypocrisy Induction  Sexually active college students make speech favoring safe sex  Dissonance  Think about time when they didn’t have safe sex  No Dissonance  Not asked to think  Reduce dissonance indirectly: donate money to homeless  Reduce dissonance directly: purchase condoms


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