Social Psychology Cognitive Dissonance

What is it?

Feelings of inconsistency are produced when two pieces of information held "in a person's head" are in conflict

What is the source?
Caused by a conflict between our belief about something and the knowledge that we have performed a behavior that is contradictory to that belief

How do people get rid of dissonance?

Since we do not like dissonance, we change our belief to make it consistend with our action


  1. Subjects complete boring task
  2. Subjects rate task (TIme 1)
  3. Subjects are asked to help put and tell next participant the task is great
  4. Subjects re-rate task (Time 2)
  5. Measure change in ratings from TIme 1 to Time 1

    Which group do you think will show the greatest change in ratings?

    The group getting paid nothing:

    The group getting paid $20:

    The group getting paid $1:


    Soloman Asch

    Showed subjects a simple task:

    Asked them to make a decision, but others ahead of them answer first

    Subjects conform:


    Stanford Prison Experiment
    Das Experiment

    Bystander Effects
    What happens if you need to help and others are around?

    Smoke-filled room

    Milgram's Experiment:


    Modern Day - Milgram
    Phone Scam, Video