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Is arousal necessary for attitude change to take place?

- a study conducted supports the notion that cognitive dissonance is a source of arousal
- a study with alcohol shows that cognitive dissonance does involve arousal because those
who drank alcohol showed less attitude change

What is Cognitive Dissonance?

Festinger described cognitive dissonance as the result of a logical inconsistency in our thinking—
B does not follow A
- subsequent research indicates this would not always cause cognitive dissonance and
thus attitude change because we always see inconsistency

If people rationalized each decision and action solely to reduce cognitive dissonance, they would
find it difficult to learn from their mistakes
- Abelson suggests that much of our thinking consists of isolated “opinion molecules”
consisting of:
a) an attitude b) a belief c) a perception of social support

Is It Dissonance or Self-Justification?
Aronson and Thibodeau argue that effects of cognitive dissonance really amount to self-
- making people aware of their own inconsistencies, particularly those relevant to how they
see themselves, is a powerful means of arousing dissonance
- a secure sense of self-worth diminishes the need to justify/rationalize our actions

A Revised Model of Cognitive Dissonance

Cooper and Fazio have outlined a revised model of cognitive dissonance that explains when
cognitive dissonance occurs in response to attitude-discrepant behaviour
- if our act is perceived to have actual/potential negative consequences, we search for an
- if it is clear that we had a free choice to act and the consequences could have been
foreseen, we attribute responsibility to ourselves  dissonance is aroused
- if we attribute this feeling of discomfort to our reaction to the action rather than to an
external source (eg. drug), then we are motivated to reduce dissonance
- now our attitude changes
Attitude change:
1. Attribution of aroused
state YES
Attribute arousal to NO
No attitude
own behaviour

Arousal of cognitive

2. Assess responsibility Attribute NO
for consequences responsibility to No dissonance
Significant negative NO
consequences? No dissonance
3. Assess consequences
of actions
This model is useful because it can preduct when the insufficient justification effect will occur.
There are 4 steps necessary for cognitive dissonance effects to occur:
1. The attitude-discrepant behaviour produces significant consequences
2. The person feels personally responsible for consequences, his/her choice was
made freely, and the consequences were foreseeable
3. The person experiences a state of arousal
4. The person attributes arousal to his/her behaviour
** Thus, cognitive dissonance involves both dissonance arousal and motivation to reduce

The study of persuasion looks at how influences from outside the person may result in attitude

What Predicts Persuasion?

Who presents the message? (source)
What is the message? (message)
To whom is the message directed? (audience)
By what means is the message sent and received, and how is it presented? (channel)