Leon Festinger's Cognitive Dissonance Theory

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Introduction of the theory – history In year 1957, cognitive dissonance theory is found by an American social psychologist, Leon Festinger. Other than cognitive dissonance theory, Festinger is famous with the social comparison theory too. Furthermore, Festinger has made this theory remarkable in the history of social psychology. With the evolution of Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory and its outstanding experiment, a new era was opened for cognitively-oriented social psychologists. Many researchers departed from reward-reinforcement based explanations and moved to cognitively oriented explanations, generated from cognitive dissonance theory. It inspired researchers to apply this theory in a broad range of topics such as attitudes toward…show more content…
In year 1959, the cognitive dissonance theory was examined through a popular experiment conducted by Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith. In this experiment, they gathered 71 people and divided them into two groups. Then, these two groups of people are arranged to sit down and complete some boring tasks. Therefore, the first group of people were paid for $1 in order to tell the next participants that the particular task that was given was very interesting and fun. However, the second group of people were paid for $20 to do the same task. In the end, the result showed that the first group that was paid for $1 felt that the task given is much more interesting comparing to the second group that was paid for $20. The result shown determined that cognitive dissonance theory works because for majority of the people $1 is not a huge amount or reward, in order to fix the unlikeness of these people believe that the tasks given were actually enjoyable. Hence, the behavior of the participants was not being changed; instead, their beliefs were changed. In conclusion, this experiment that conducted by Festinger and Carlsmith was considered as outstanding experiment of cognitive dissonance since it provides the most sufficient evidences for the theory. Furthermore, cognitive dissonance theory is used widely by social psychologist as a reference to create other cognitively based…show more content…
For example, researchers will conclude that the level of dissonance of particular individual is low when an environmental individual remains driving a normal car that are releasing carbon monoxide instead of a hybrid car. But researchers did not consider other possibility of reasons for not using hybrid car as they are possibility that financial problem of that particular individual is the reason for not buying a hybrid car. Therefore, this shows that specific prediction does not exist in this

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