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Lecture 14 - Justifying Our Actions Pt. 1

by: Leslie Ogu

Lecture 14 - Justifying Our Actions Pt. 1 PSYC 2012

Marketplace > George Washington University > Psychlogy > PSYC 2012 > Lecture 14 Justifying Our Actions Pt 1
Leslie Ogu
GPA 3.01

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About this Document

We began the discussion about the different aspects that affect our decision making and how we try to justify what we do based on the situation. Our actions include changing our behavior, changing ...
Social Psychology
Stock, M
Class Notes
social psychology, justifying, actions, conformity, acceptance, attitude, change, arousal, cognitive dissonance, smoking, chocolate, internal, external, justification, advocacy, counter, behavior
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Leslie Ogu on Tuesday March 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 2012 at George Washington University taught by Stock, M in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Social Psychology in Psychlogy at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 03/22/16
Leslie Ogu PSYC 2012  03/21/2016 ­ ​ustifying Our Actions Pt. 1    Situations Where We Tend to Try and Justify Our Actions  ➢ You are on a diet, and just ate an unhealthy meal at a fast food spot  ➢ You spend a lot of money to a vacation spot and it ends up being a letdown  ➢ You are asked to write a paper about God being real, but are an atheist    Can Behaviors Affect Attitude?  ➢ Cognitive Dissonance Theory​ : discomfort that people feel when two cognitions  (beliefs or attitudes) conflict, or when they behave in ways that are inconsistent  with their perception of themselves  ○ If a person can’t change the behavior, their attitude will often be changed to  align with the behavior in order to reduce the dissonance  ○ 3 Necessary Components  1. Feeling of personal responsibility  a. E.g., negative consequences were freely chosen  2. Physiological Arousal  3. Attribution of Arousal to Own Behavior  ■ Dissonance doesn’t arise specifically come from inconsistency. If a  person can justify their behavior throuexternal reasons,  dissonance is not aroused  ○ The Less­Leads­to­More Effect  ■ If there are strong reasons for behaving in ways that contradict our  attitudes, then:  ● Dissonance will be low or non­existent  ● There will be no motivation to make our attitudes match our  behavior  ■ But, if there is no good reason for your counterattitudinal behavior,  then:  ● Dissonance will be strong  ● There will be a strong motivation to make our attitudes match  our behaviour  ■ Good Reason for hypocritical behaviour  ⇒ Low Dissonance  ⇒ Small Attitude Change  ■ No Good Reason for hypocritical behaviour  ⇒ High Dissonance  ⇒ Big Attitude Change ○ Ways to Reduce Dissonance  ■ Change your attitude  ● “I don’t really need to be on a diet”  ■ Change your perception of the behavior  ● “I hardly ate any of that chocolate”  ■ Add new cognitions  ● “Chocolate is very nutritious”  ■ Minimize the importance of the conflict  ● “I don’t care if I’m overweight”  ■ Reduce perceived choice  ● “I had no choice ­ the chocolate was prepared just for me!”  ■ Change behavior  ● Stop eating chocolate  ○ Dissonance and Smoking  ■ See yourself smoking vs. smoking is unhealthy  ■ This leads to negative arousal ­ people don’t want to behave in a way  that will kill them  ■ How do you reduce dissonance?  ○ 3 Types of Cognitive Dissonance  1. Justifying attitude­discrepant behavior  2. Justifying effort  3. Justifying difficult decisions  ○ Insufficient Justification  ■ Internal justification: reducing dissonance by changing something  about oneself = attitude change  ● Scientific importance (marginal)  ● Participate in similar experiment (direction only)  ■ External justification:​ a reason or explanation for dissonant  behavior that resides outside the person = minimal attitude change  ○ Examples of Justifying Behaviors  ■ Smoking  ■ Condom Use  ■ Punishment  ■ Good deeds  ■ Cheating  ○ Justifying Effort:​ the tendency to increase liking for something one worked  hard to attain  ■ Ex: careers; graduate school  ○ Justifying Difficult Decisions  ■ Postdecisional dissonance:​  dissonance aroused after making a  decision  ● Reduced by enhancing the attractiveness of the chosen  alternative and devaluing the rejected ones  ■ Once people make a tough decision (between two equally­appealing  options), they tend to convince themselves that made the best  decision  ○ Using dissonance for the forces of good  ■ Dissonance can be used to produce beneficial changes in behavior  ● Ex: promoting non­smoking; seatbelt use  ■ Dissonance is especially useful when used to generate feelings of  hypocrisy  ● Counter additional advocacy:​  publicly stating an opinion,  attitude, or behavior that is inconsistent to one’s private  attitude, behavior, or belief  ○ Dissonance and beneficial behavior change  ■ For this strategy to work, several conditions must exist and the  persons in question must:  ● Publicly advocate the desired behaviors  ● Be induced to think about their own failures to show these  behaviors in the past  ● Be given access to direct means for reducing dissonance 


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