Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith proposed the term cognitive dissonance which is Every individual has his or her Festinger, L. and Carlsmith, J. M. ( ). The following article by Leon Festinger and James M. Carlsmith is the classic study on Reprinted from Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, , 58, . Forced compliance theory is a paradigm that is closely related to cognitive dissonance theory. Leon Festinger and James M. Carlsmith () conducted an experiment entitled “Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance”. This study.

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Acquire new information that outweighs the dissonant beliefs.

Thus, if the overt behavior was brought about by, say, offers of reward or threats of punishment, the magnitude of dissonance is maximal if these promised rewards or threatened punishments were just barely sufficient to induce the person to say “not X.

At the beginning of the study, “public” subjects signed a document in which they vowed to preserve their counter-attitudinal position outside of the study. czrlsmith

Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. About a third of subjects were released from the experiment at this point after being thanked by the experimenter, who also expressed the hope that the subject had enjoyed the experienceand being interviewed by someone from the psychology department ostensibly with the view of improving the presentation of experiments in the future.

Would the subject have any desire to participate in another similar experiment? The variability is greater, however, and the differences do not yield high levels of statistical significance.

And, indeed, in the Control condition the average rating was. Half of the participants were asked to make the recording, while the other half was asked to make the counter statement. Search over articles on psychology, science, and experiments. The question was included because, as far as we could see, it had nothing to do with the dissonance that was experimentally created and could not be used for dissonance reduction.


The study built on previous research that stated when individuals are not granted the freedom to agree or disagree with the task, signs of dissonance are not detected. There has been a great deal of research into cognitive dissonance, providing some interesting and sometimes unexpected findings.

The experimenter suggested that he had talked to the Professor in charge of the experiment and had got his clearance to ask the subject to take on the role of the associate and the Professor had agreed that this would be in order.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory | Simply Psychology

It was explained to them that the Department of Psychology is conducting the study and they are therefore required to serve in the experiments. Share this page on your website: When they arrived at the interviewer’s office, the E asked the interviewer whether or not he wanted to talk to the S. When the S arrived for the experiment on “Measures of Performance” he had to wait for a few minutes in the secretary’s office.

In the ‘severe embarrassment’ condition, they had to read aloud obscene words and a very explicit sexual passage.

The reason for doing it, theoretically, was to make it easier for anyone who wanted to persuade himself that the tasks had been, indeed, enjoyable. One involved adolescents and adults and another involved high school-aged participants.

Forced compliance theory is essentially a subset of cognitive dissonance theory. festingsr

The control subjects were asked carlmsith go to a room to be interviewed. The fee was paid and a receipt was signed by the subject.

Cognitive Dissonance

The first area is whether the tasks were interesting and enjoyable at all. These three variables were public-private, true-persuasive, and high-low financial motivation. However, there is a problem from a scientific point of view, because we cannot physically observe cognitive dissonanceand therefore we cannot objectively measure it re: The results, according to the researchers, display the cognitive dissonance phenomenon.

Up to this point the procedure was identical for S s in all conditions. After reading the reports about the various products, individuals rated the products again. In the study, undergraduate students of Introductory Psychology at Stanford University were asked to take part of a series of experiments. The participants were 71 male students in totality. Only recently has there been any experimental work related to this question.


The S worked at this task for another half hour. These 11 S s were, of course, run through the total experiment anyhow and the experiment was explained to them afterwards. Leon Festinger and James M. After performing the tasks, each of the subjects was then interviewed regarding how enjoyable the tasks were to him.

The amount of money paid the subject was varied. Any hesitancy on the part of the subject was eroded by further encouragement from the experimenter.

Forced compliance theory – Wikipedia

This point will be discussed further in connection with the results. A sheet of paper headed “For Group B” was shown by the experimenter to the subject which outlined a role this associate was expected to festinter in conveying enthusiam for the experimental tasks. Three other participants declined the offer and another one, though he gave the girl a positive briefing, he asked for the girl’s ccarlsmith afterwards so he can, according to him, explain to her further what the study is about.

The secretary had left the office.

Cognitive dissonance

The importance of this announcement will become clear shortly. The more scientifically important they considered the experiment to be, the less was the total magnitude of dissonance. The carrlsmith asks whether that subject finds the activity important, again using the scale of 0 to It is also a strong motivational tool in influencing us to choose one action or thought over another.

This question is less directly related to the dissonance that was experimentally created for the S s.