Chapter 11, 13 - Chapter 13 Social Perception and Attitudes...

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Chapter 13: Social Perception and Attitudes Pg. 520-524 Attitudes as Rationalizations to Attain Cognitive Consistency Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory – a mechanism that is built into the workings of our mind creates an uncomfortable feeling of dissonance, or lack of harmony, when we become aware of some inconsistency among the various attitudes, beliefs, and items of knowledge that constitute our mental store o Discomfort of hunger motivates us to find food o Discomfort of cognitive dissonance motivates us to seek ways to resolve contradictions or inconsistencies among cognitions Avoid dissonance by avoiding situations in which might discover ideas that run counter to our current views People generally more confident about the correctness of their choices after those choices are made than before Insufficient-justification effect – a change in attitude that occurs because, without the change, the person cannot justify his or her already completed action o There must be no obvious, high incentive for performing the counterattiudinal action. When students offered cheap money to lie a job was exciting, they did it because cheap money could not justify the lie. When students offered lots of money to lie a job was exciting, they didn’t lie because lots of money justified the lie. o Subjects must perceive their actions as stemming from their own free choice. o Effect strongest when the action to be justified would, from the viewpoint of the original attitude, be expected to cause harm to others or on oneself. I would not deliberately do something harmful; therefore I must believe that what I did is helpful. Just-world bias – we believe life is fair because to believe otherwise would induce more anxiety than we can tolerate o Blaming the victim phenomenon: done to prevent thinking world could be so unfair for tragedies to occur for no reason
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