Riecken, And Leon Festinger's Cognitive Dissonance Theory

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In 1957 Leon Festinger developed a theory that refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors which produces a feeling of discomfort which in turn makes the person alternate one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to rid the discomfort. This suggests that people are driven to avoid discomfort and inconsistency and make a change in order to balance their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. This theory that Festinger came up with is known as the cognitive dissonance theory and has been around for over half a century. An example of this theory is if a person knows they have to lose weight in order to be healthy which would be their cognition but they do not like to exercise which is their behavior then they will have to change their behavior by starting to exercise in order to be consistent with their belief that they want to lose weight. This would make the beliefs and behaviors consistant with one another and avoid dissonance. The main point of cognitive dissonance is that people want consistency in their attitudes and beliefs and if their beliefs are inconsistent with their behaviors they will have a motivation to reduce the dissonance change which can give them the cause to change behaviors. This change can sometimes be illogical and absurd but it helps them to reduce the conflicting attributes. Festinger came up with this theory by studying a cult with his colleagues Henry Riecken and Stanley Schachter in the 1950’s. They studied the cult

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