Perspectives on Cognitive Dissonance

By Robert A. Wicklund; Jack W. Brehm | Go to book overview

10 Motivational Effects of Dissonance

There seems no reason why dissonance theory cannot readily be implemented to predict the rise and fall of various biologically based motives. For example, in the familiar forced-compliance paradigm it would be an easy matter to require a person to commit himself to eating a sizable meal. To the extent that he had just eaten there should be a good deal of dissonance, for continued eating would be inconsistent with a feeling of being satiated. Following the model of the forced-compliance paradigm an increment in subjectively reported hunger should result. That is, at the very least this person's cognitions about his hunger should change in a direction specified by the theory. Whether the noncognitive aspects would change concomitantly is a question raised later in this chapter.

The above example might be turned around so that the person decides not to eat even though he is hungry. To make the example more theoretically convincing we might add a variable such as justification. Suppose a person has fasted, then is asked to commit himself to an additional fast without external justification. The resulting dissonance should bring him to minimize his hunger, and more so than would someone who is paid to continue abstaining from food. The first section of this chapter will deal specifically with this example.


HUNGER

The first experimental study of hunger as affected by dissonance was by Brehm and Crocker ( 1962). All subjects were asked to skip breakfast and lunch, and upon arriving at the experimental room in the afternoon they were shown some food which they expected to eat later in the session. The experimenter proceeded to take a premeasure of hunger. Then the subjects were engaged in an irrelevant task necessitated by the rationale of the experiment. Following that task, the deprivation request was introduced. All subjects were asked to commit

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Perspectives on Cognitive Dissonance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • COMPLEX HUMAN BEHAVIOR ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword ix
  • A Special Dedication xi
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - Introduction to the Theory 1
  • 2 - Commitment 11
  • 3 - Choice 25
  • 4 - Foreseeability and Responsibility 51
  • 5 - Evidence on Fundamental Propositions 72
  • 6 - Energizing Effects of Cognitive Dissonance 86
  • 7 - Awareness of Inconsistent Cognitions 98
  • 8 - Regret and Other Sequential Processes 106
  • 9 - Modes of Response to Dissonance 124
  • 10 - Motivational Effects of Dissonance 140
  • 11 - Resistance to Extinction and Related Effects 160
  • 12 - Selective Exposure 170
  • 13 - Interpersonal Processes 191
  • 14 - Individual Differences 220
  • 15 - Related Theoretical Developments 239
  • 16 - Alternative Explanations of Dissonance Phenomena 260
  • 17 - Applications 288
  • 18 - Perspectives 314
  • References 323
  • Author Index 341
  • Subject Index 347
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