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Cognitive Dissonance & Milgram Experiment

1. Define cognitive dissonance and rewrite the definition in your own terms and give an original example. List the three components.

2. Explain four methods a person may use to reduce dissonance.

3. Briefly summarize the Milgram experiment (one paragraph).

4. How did the subjects in the Milgram experiment experience dissonance?

5. List seven ways the subjects in the Migram experiment may have reduced their dissonance. Be specific.

Solution Preview

1) Cognitive dissonance is the uncomfortable feeling one gets when holding two conflicting views or thoughts or feelings, which leads to feelings of guilt, shame, frustration, anger, etc. People will usually work to reduce dissonance. For example, a person may know that smoking causes cancer, but continues to smoke. They may reduce dissonance by telling themselves that only a few people get sick or that many things cause cancer and they can't avoid them all.

2) A person may reduce dissonance by:
a. reduce the importance of the dissonant belief (e.g. the fact that smoking causes cancer is just not as important because quality of life is more important than quantity)
b. change the conflicting belief (e.g. smoking doesn't cause cancer, or stop smoking)
c. find evidence that outweigh the ...