Confident people experience cognitive dissonance

Self-worth and self-justification. Cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance


1 Self-worth and self-justification People need a positive, stable self-concept Pleasant, helps us (e.g. less fear of death) People try to maintain this positive self-concept, sometimes in contradiction with available information Above-average-effect: Appreciate people as above average (if possible), among other things, we try to justify our actions, also to ourselves and not always consciously Self-worth and self-justification High self-worth important for subjective well-being Less depression, less fear and neurosis More resistant to group pressure (but also more willing to take risks) Correlates little but with objective criteria (academic achievement etc.) To be distinguished from narcissistic self-exaggeration (there self-worth is something threatened, hence the excessive greed for admiration) Cognitive dissonance Festinger, 1957 Cognitive dissonance = feeling of discomfort in the face of contradiction more accurate cognitions, especially when it comes to our behavior and our own self-image, e.g. I smoke vs. smoking is dangerous Reducing dissonance by changing behavior (quitting) Changing dissonant cognition (anyway harmless) Adding new cognitions (I need against stress) Cognitive dissonance Changes in cognitions can often have very irrational elements Study: Heavy smokers often downplay the danger Filters filter everything away. Some chain smokers get very old, so it's not dangerous for me

2 Cognitive dissonance Rational behavior replaced by rationalizations Cf. Freud, Verdrückung Wunschenken Jones & Kohler, 1959: The best way to remember is credible arguments that support our position, and untrustworthy arguments of the opposing position are badly noted, credible arguments of the opposing position and unbelievable arguments for our position (the latter are also dissonant because they discredit our position) Cognitive dissonance Can one prove the assumption of discomfort in the case of cognitive dissonance? Measurement by questionnaire: people in dissonance actually agitated experiment: dissonance reduction by changing attitudes does not occur if arousal is explained as the result of an (ineffective) tablet (Zanna & Cooper, 1974) Post-decision dissonance after difficult decisions; the negative sides of the chosen decision or the positive of the not chosen generate dissonance the agony of choice Anticipated post-decision dissonance can guide our decisions or we sometimes decide on what we promise to have to suffer from as little post-decision dissonance as possible Post-decision dissonance Dissonance reduction: i.a. Cognitions changed so that they justify the chosen decision that was good that we made that decision (but doesn't have to be: quarreling with yourself, see counterfactual thinking) Experiment: immediately after the horse bet (= with the onset of irrevocability) chances of winning rated higher for the selected horse than immediately before it The more important the decision, the stronger the effects (job, partnership,)

3 Low-balling sales trick: first offer a low price, then invoke error and contrite a higher price. It works because the customer is already set to trade or a. dissonance arises above all when there is freedom of choice and foreseeable negative consequences justification of the effort Realizing that you have invested a lot of effort in vain would generate dissonance, for example by throwing a bad light on yourself (or just being so unpleasant) tendency to products Great efforts to upgrade Aronson & Mills' experiment (1959): the more difficult it was to join the discussion group, the more positively trivial discussions were rated. Admission rituals increase the bond! (Military!) What costs something is also worth something

4 Inadequate justification for inauthentic behavior (counterattitudinal advocacy, e.g. not expressing one's real opinion) External justification: for reward or punishment (or simply out of consideration) Internal justification: dissonance reduction by changing one's own attitude or behavior Experiment Festinger & Carlsmith 1959 : Subjects had to lie to their colleagues (tasks are exciting, in reality deadly boring); Big reward for lies: Subjects judged tasks to be more boring than with small rewards Insufficient justification Interpretation: Small reward perceived as inadequate justification for lies, therefore dissonance reduction through internal justification: Tasks are really exciting Results can be replicated well even if lies are only written on pieces of paper that you destroy immediately Also suitable for reducing prejudices (having positive statements written without much reward) or for AIDS prevention (publicly advocating it => nobody wants to commit hypocrisy) => the social influence is apparently rated low, otherwise if the justification weren't inadequate (=> illusion of freedom) Inadequate punishment Special case of inadequate justification If people are persuaded to refrain from doing something without special punishment, they tend to internally devalue neglected behavior, i.e. severe punishment can be counterproductive s to bring about corresponding inner convictions (cf. Theory of objective self-attention) Special: prohibitions in children self-conviction Long-term change of attitude after self-justification Follow-up experiment: Children with mild prohibitions to use toys, later adhered to it more than children with severe threats of punishment, soldiers who were told by an unlikely officer to eat locusts were stopped, had a more positive attitude afterwards than with the sympathetic officer (antipathy produced insufficient justification)

5 Aftermath of social behavior Resistance to extinction and internalization can also be justified in general from the theory of dissonance: whenever there is no reinforcement of behavior, dissonance; At some point this dissonance has to be reduced (e.g. justification of the effort), therefore upgrading of behavior even without reinforcement upgrading of people we have helped (already described by Benjamin Franklin) reduces dissonance, why we actually helped, experimentally confirmed helping people helps i.a. Reduce resentment! In return, failure to help acquaintances (study: e.g. due to time pressure) leads to their devaluation => devaluation of the victim by the perpetrator !!! (e.g. acts of violence in war, suppresses guilt) Devaluation of the victims Justification of cruelty! from which new cruelty then grows all the easier! Experiment: Subjects had to say hurtful statements to a victim => victim judged more negatively Experiment: victim supposedly given electric shocks => more negatively judged (see Belief in the just world! Blame the victim) unless one expected a later reversal of the situation (man would then get the electric shocks from the victims) => no more victims self-discrepancy Higgins, 1989 Theory of self-discrepancy: inconsistency between actual self, desired / ideal self (ideal self) and should-self (required; ought self; like us believe that we should be how we feel obliged) causes negative emotions Between actual self and ideal self: depressive feelings: sadness, dejection, dissatisfaction, between actual self and ought self: fear, spec. Social anxiety, tension

6 Self-discrepancy Furthermore: own point of view (self) vs. point of view of important others (foreign) accordingly there are: In fact, in fact, in fact foreign, ideal, ideal, in demand, demanded in, demanded by others Example: ideal in oneself (dangerous hobbies, great job) vs. , caring parents) Self discrepancy Discrepancies: Actually yourself / ideally yourself: dissatisfaction, disappointment, blame, listlessness Actually yourself / ideally alien: shame, loneliness Actually yourself / challenged yourself: guilt, discomfort, self-condemnation, postponing actions Actually yourself / actually alien: shame , Embarrassment, despondency Actually / ought to be strange: fear, fear, threat, expectation of danger or pain Self-discrepancy Reduce self-discrepancy through: Effort / effort to really assimilate the actual self to the ideal or ought self or self-justifying thoughts, especially the advancement of responsibility (external Attribution ng: unjust requirements etc.) or devaluation of the desired goal Self-discrepancy There are self-discrepancy scales for measuring. Even more selves were formulated: the feared, the undesirable, the future self

7 Self-completion theory Self-completion theory, Gollwitzer, Wicklund If an important aspect of our identity is devalued, we look for additional social recognition for this experiment: dancers who had to critically describe their dance teachers (and thus their own ability) were in a more hurry to perform in public Symbolic power of the activity is important Cf. Adler, (over) compensation of inferiority Theory of Self-Esteem Conservation Tesser, 1988, self-evaluation maintenance Self-concept is threatened by the superiority of someone else, depending on their proximity and the relevance of the dimension Example: my friend surpasses me in something where I want to be good myself threatening self-worth (jealousy, envy) my friend surpasses me in qualities that I do not claim for myself bask in his shine (pride) (see territory behavior, closeness + relevance = penetrate into my territory) Self-Esteem Theory How can I resolve the dissonance of such a threat s reduce self-esteem? Increase your own performance Devalue the relevance of the dimension for me (the sour grapes) Increase the distance to the person The success of a friend can cause more discomfort than that of a stranger Ad relevance: Wealth and success can be relevant per se, e.g. famous school colleague see everyday term rivalry also between siblings, parents and children, within couples, between colleagues, between superiors and subordinates Has not only to do with self-worth, also with social position, real fears (job and career) or conflicts of interest and with But jealousy can also lead to uncooperative or even destructive behavior or to the devaluation of the performance of the other envy, for example The boss does not distribute tasks in such a way that they can be processed by the appropriate people. Father starts to brag about his own achievements when the son talks about success.

8 Self-Esteem Theory So the success of a friend can be more uncomfortable than that of a stranger Experiment: Poor performance in a game of guessing a password; afterwards opportunity to help others with tips. Friends are less helped than strangers! Experiment: Friends rated worse than strangers on relevant dimensions Field studies / document analyzes: Parent-child relationships among scientists in the same subject Tense theory of self-affirmation self-affirmation theory The threat of dissonance in one dimension is reduced if one has affirmation in another dimension Experiment: Appreciation the chosen decision (= reduction of the post-decision dissonance) less after self-esteem confirmation (e.g. putting natural scientists in white coats) but I can cook well for that.Cf. again area behavior but in my area I am undisputed self-verification theory People do not always increase their self-worth Depressed / anxious people value themselves often stubbornly himself What about negative self-conviction? (Dissonance then when self-esteem increases) Self-verification theory says that people try to confirm their self-concept (even a negative one). Glass (1964): Less dissonance when (allegedly) giving electric shocks to people with low self-esteem Self-verification theory Negative self-image is maintained in order to reduce dissonance and for fear of failing the expectations of others Stable self-image takes precedence over positive self-image Naturally depends Learning history together Praise can be really uncomfortable Avoid contact with people who think too positively about us Praise is more likely to be accepted by distant people (less to fear disappointment)

9 Cultural differences In Japan less dissonance reduction More collectivist society, also signs of maturity, accepting inconsistencies Instead of dissonance when observing dissonant behavior of others The rationalization trap of dissonance should generally be used. be reduced by sensible changes in behavior, not by simply adjusting our cognitions along the lines of the least resistance (see positive thinking) Another example: probable events are viewed as more desirable (one finds oneself in it) Experiment: Bush election victory more desirable, the more favorable the prognosis for him ; analogous to tuition fees The rationalization trap dissonance reduction can lead to self-justifications that trigger a chain of irrational behavior and maintain it e.g. Continuation of a war (if we withdraw, that means everything would have been wrong) Absurdly maintaining measures (otherwise we will lose face) The rationalization trap we often divert ourselves from the need to act It is possible that we have more negative events (dissonance reduction necessary) evaluate more positively than weaker negative ones (tolerable without dissonance reduction) self-esteem can help to avoid rationalization trap Experiment: People with (manipulated) high self-esteem cheat less