Cognitive dissonance theory (1 of 3)


1. (a) What is a cognitive element (cognition)? (b) What are the possible relationships between two cognitions? Explain how two cognitions can be irrelevant to each other; explain how two cognitions can be consistent with each other; explain how two cognitions can be inconsistent with each other. (c) When are two cognitions said to be in a dissonant relationship?


2. (a) What are the properties of dissonance? What sort of state is it? (b) Can dissonance vary in magnitude? (c) What factors influence the degree of dissonance experienced? Explain how the relative proportion of consonant and dissonant elements influences dissonance. Explain how the importance of the elements and the issue influence dissonance. (d) Describe and explain two basic ways of reducing dissonance.


3. (a) Explain how choice (decision-making) inevitably arouses dissonance. (b) Is dissonance a pre-decisional or post-decisional state? What state is a decision-maker said to be in before having made the decision? What state is a decision-maker said to be in after having made the decision? (c) How can dissonance be reduced following a decision? What is postdecisional spreading of alternatives? Has research commonly detected postdecisional spreading of alternatives? (d) How is regret manifest following a decision? Does regret precede or follow dissonance reduction? Explain how regret can lead to a reversal of a decision. (e) Explain the function of follow-up persuasive efforts in the context of postdecisional processes.