Our aim in this part of the volume is to discuss the place of dissonance theory with regard to aspects of research and theory in the psychology of cognition, motivation, attitudes, and social interaction. In so doing we hope to be able to be more specific about just where the present theory, as we view it, is different from other widely held conceptions in psychology and where it is similar. We shall attempt, wherever possible, to clarify the basic assumptions of the theory vis-à-vis other conceptions and also to indicate where dissonance theory might make unique predictions to a range of empirical events dealt with by various theoretical and research emphases current in psychology.
In the present chapter we shall discuss the relation of dissonance theory to other theories of inconsistency and incongruity. The increasing stream of research growing out of these models makes advisable an attempt to separate the elements that we take to be particular to dissonance theory and those that we feel reside in the other theories.
We shall also discuss (Chapter 13) dissonance theory as it relates to decisional processes. In the course of this discussion, we shall take up the Lewinian formulation of decision stabilization, the conflict