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    Self-Attribution and Cognitive Dissonance Theory

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    Describe the connection between self-attribution and cognitive dissonance. Include the following:

    1. A summary of the research regarding the theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding the mental processes of self-attribution and cognitive dissonance.

    2. A discussion of how nature and nurture influence self-attribution and thereby affect cognitive development.

    3. A discussion of why individuals are motivated to resolve cognitive dissonance and how this is related to self-attribution.

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    A. Attributions are how we explain behavior; self-attribution theory states that we interpret success or failure, and our environment, in a manner that helps us maintain our positive self-image. Attribution theory was first proposed by Heider (1958), but Weiner and colleagues (e.g., Jones et al, 1972; Weiner, 1974, 1986) developed the framework that we are familiar with today. Cognitive dissonance is "anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes, beliefs, or the like, as when one likes a person but disapproves strongly of one of his or her habits" (http://dictionary.reference.com). For example, when people smoke (behavior), and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition). Festinger (1957) proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance.

    "Cognitions about the self mediate dissonance processes" (Stone and Cooper, 2000; see first resource listed below), and both mental processes appear to be based in self-esteem (Tracy, 2007). "The purpose behind making attributions is to achieve ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution will outline what self-attribution theory is, what cognitive dissonance theory is, and how the two theories are related. References used are included.