The Psychometric Properties of the Cognitive Dissonance Test

By Chow, Peter | Education, Fall 2001 | Go to article overview

The Psychometric Properties of the Cognitive Dissonance Test


Chow, Peter, Education


In December 1949, Commager reported a survey in the New York Times to determine the most important contributions made to society during the first half of the 20th century, from 1900 to 1950, from the Victorian to the Atomic Age. Of the six most important contributions reported in that study, the work of Sigmund Freud led all the rest. It was followed by Henry Ford with mass production of the automobile making every person a neighbor; Einstein with the relativity theory came next; then Gandhi with passive resistance; Marconi with the radio; and finally Waiter Reed for the control of yellow fever. It was Sigmund Freud who first described how all human behavior is designed to gratify personal needs, and how hidden unfulfilled needs deep in the unconscious often command the fullness of one's attention, and then prevent any semblance of gainful employment (Cassel, 1985, and 1988). Using psychoanalysis he was able to reveal the presence and nature of unconscious hurts which thereby become master of self through dominant brain cognitive direction.

Freud's Psychoanalysis

Freud introduced "free association," the greatest contribution to society during the first half of the 20th century, as the basis for psychoanalysis; which quickly became a much used health care mode; largely for wealthy people, because it was an expensive mode (Mosak, 1974). Men and women alike sought to have a psychoanalysis on self largely as the basis to achieve a better and improved life style. Typically, it entailed a weekly one-hour session during which time laying in a prone position he/she would reveal anything that came in mind to a psychiatrist who was conducting the sessions, and who would then interpret the nature and degree of hidden unconscious feelings. The psychiatrist was trained to use the new "projective" theory where "manifest content" meant what the patient actually said, and "latent content" would be the psychiatrist's interpretation as to what the patient really meant. For example, if the elderly lady indicated fear of some male hiding under the bed, the psychiatrist would interpret whether it was really "fear", or maybe "wish fulfillment." The goal always was to provide individuals in psychoanalysis with a full and complete knowledge of their hidden and unconscious feelings; so that they in turn could use conscious controls to deal more effectively with problem areas of their lives. Seldom was a psychoanalysis completed in less than six months, and sometimes it would last a year or longer, of weekly sessions that were costly and became a kind of a much coveted life style for the wealthy (Horney, 1945).

Second Force Psychology

Second Force Psychology is presently the theory underlying the use of psychoanalysis throughout the health care facilities of the world, and serves as the principal means for health care with individuals displaying psychiatric disorders (Taylor, 1962). It derives directly from the early work of Sigmund Freud where "free association" is the technique for revealing areas and nature of hurts lying deep in the unconscious. Such hurts are believed to be directly associated with different areas of one's life space where personal needs have not been gratified. The theory in Second Force Psychology follows that when the individual is fully aware of such areas of one's life space that foster such unconscious hurts, the individual on a conscious level can seek to find personal ways to relieve the hurts that are present. Today, around the world psychoanalysis based on Second Force Psychology serves as the basis for treatment of psychiatric disorders and mentally sick people (Cassel, 1998).

The Cognitive Dissonance Test

It was Leon Festinger of Stanford University (1957) who introduced "Cognitive Dissonance" as a substitute for "Free Association" and defined it as "feelings of unpleasantness" which an individual possesses lying deep in the unconscious, and where the individual seldom if ever realizes the reasons for such feelings. …

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