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Cognitive Dissonance Theory: Collective Actions and Individual Reactions

  • Gerald N. Sande
  • Mark P. Zanna
Chapter
Part of the Springer Series in Social Psychology book series (SSSOC)

Abstract

The basic premise of Festinger’s (1957) theory of cognitive dissonance is that an individual strives to maintain consistency or consonance among his or her cognitions. Inconsistent, or dissonant, cognitions lead to psychological discomfort, which motivates activity aimed at restoring consonance. For example, if I say something that hurts the feelings of a close friend the cognitions “I like that person” and “I hurt that person” are dissonant in light of the assumption that I ought not to hurt people I like. According to dissonance theory, a “drive-like” state of arousal will motivate me to reconcile the discrepancy. This may be accomplished in a number of ways. I may add consonant cognitions, for example, by performing some favor for the injured party, or perhaps by recalling previously performed favors. I may alter the importance of one of the cognitions, for example, by deciding that the remark was, in the overall course of the relationship, a minor incident. Finally, I may change one of the dissonant cognitions, for example, by deciding that I really did not like the target of the remark after all.

Keywords

Collective Action Antisocial Behavior Attitude Change Personal Responsibility Cognitive Dissonance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald N. Sande
  • Mark P. Zanna

There are no affiliations available

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