Consistency Theories PPT by wanghonghx

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									Cognitive consistency

    Humans as cognitive creatures
   Cognitions form “associative
• associative networks include beliefs,
  attitudes, and other cognitions
• the associations are often
  unconscious, implicit
• changes in one belief or attitude may
  produce a “ripple effect” elsewhere
  in one’s cognitive system
     Three basic assumptions of
        consistency theories
•   People expect, prefer
     Individuals strive to maintain
      psychological harmony among their
      beliefs, attitudes, behaviors
•   Inconsistency causes
    psychological discomfort, tension
     “Dissonance” is uncomfortable,
      may even be accompanied by
      physiological symptoms
•   Individuals are motivated to
    restore cognitive consistency
     “Drive-reduction” model
     a form of face-saving, identity
                                          Angelina Joile replaced her “Billy
                                          Bob” tattoo
Example of an empirical study on
• Sherman & Gorkin (1980) females         • The Riddle: A man and his
  who scored high on a feminism             son were driving down an icy
  scale tried to solve a “sex-role”
  problem (which they were set up to        mountain road. Suddenly the
  fail).                                    car skidded off the road and
• A control group with similar scores       down a ravine. The man was
  on the feminism scale completed a         killed instantly and the boy
  different task.                           was rushed to the hospital for
• The failure of the treatment group to     emergency surgery. Upon
  solve the problem induced a state of      seeing the child, the surgeon
  psychological inconsistency in the        exclaims, "Oh my god,I can’t
• Both groups then read a transcript
                                            operate on him. That’s my
  about a sex discrimination case.          son!"
  Their task was to decide who was        • How is this possible?
  wrong in the case and make an
• What do you think happened?
     Results of Sherman & Gorkin’s
             (1980) study:

• The feminists who experienced dissonance were more
  likely to find that sex discrimination had occurred and
  gave much larger awards compared to the control
• Why? Their decision helped to restore their self-
  concept as feminists.
• Threats to one’s self image lead to attempts to bolster,
  reinforce, or reestablish the threatened attitudes.
           Revisions to cognitive
           consistency theories
• More recently, consistency has also been viewed as socially
    • the appearance of consistency matters to us
• Individuals can tolerate a certain amount of inconsistency
    • especially if core beliefs, attitudes aren’t involved
    • examples: Log Cabin Republicans, driving an SUV but
      being pro-environment, being a vegetarian, but wearing
      leather shoes
• In some cases, individuals may even strive to create
    • example: dysfunctional relationships
   Fritz Heider’s “Balance theory”
• The “granddaddy” of all consistency theories
• The most basic, simple model
• Involves three cognitive elements, P,O,X:
    • P: Person (perceiver, self)
    • O: Other person
    • X: Attitude object (thing, event, action)
   Example of Heider’s P-O-X triad

• A child admires Popeye          Popeye
• The child doesn’t like to
  eat spinach
• Popeye is positively
  associated with Spinach     +        +
• This is a cognitively
  imbalanced state, which
  should motivate the child        -
  to change one of the
           Consistency theory in
• A female consumer is thinking
  of buying a new car
• She has a negative attitude
  toward high gas prices
• The Toyota Prius is advertised
  as a high mileage vehicle
• She forms a favorable                       hybrid car
  impression of the Toyota Prius
                                              +            -
                                                               high gas
Balanced versus imbalanced
    psychological states

balanced (consistent) psychological states
+        +   +       -   -       +     -         -
     +           -           -               +

imbalanced (inconsistent) psychological states
 -       -   -       +   +       -     +         +
     -           +           +               -
   Limitations of Balance theory
• Model is incapable of handling more than one
  triad at a time (not complex psychological
• Only one element of the triad is assumed to
  change (not several elements)
• No provision for the degree or strength of the
• No clear indication of how balance will be
  restored (which element will change). Heider
  states “the least effortful means” will be
       Congruity Theory (Osgood,
       Tannenbaum, & Suci, 1957)
• Congruity theory also presumes that people strive
  to maintain consistency among their cognitions
• The theory is based upon the “semantic
  differential” scale
• Congruity exists when a person holds identical
  attitudes toward a source and a topic or issue.
    • When incongruity exists, there is a tendency to change
      cognitions so as to achieve psychological equilibrium
    • When two or more attitudes are linked by an assertion
      there is a tendency for both attitudes to change
     Improvements over Balance
• Allows for more than one attitude to change
• Allows for degrees of attitude change
     • An accompanying formula allows for
       precise predictions regarding the extent and
       direction of attitude change
     • When incongruity exists, more extreme
       attitudes are less susceptible to change
• Congruity theory makes a number of
  interesting, counterintuitive predictions
     Example of Congruity theory
• Assume a person likes both
  Hillary Clinton and Barack

                                  -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3
• The person perceives that                             Hillary
  Barack made a disparaging                             Barack
  remark about Hillary
• A dissociative assertion
  between two positive attitude
  objects results in the
  decreased evaluation of both
  attitude objects                                       “mudslinging” hurts
                                                         both sources’ credibility
  Limitations of congruity theory
• Model and formula only accounts for
  one triad at a time.
• Counterintuitive predictions aren’t
  always fulfilled in practice
• The importance and relevance of the
  attitude(s) to the person is ignored
• There are other ways to achieve
  congruity besides changing
  evaluations of the sources or objects
     Applications of consistency
• Image-based advertising
   • the feelings and images
     associated with a brand are
     powerful purchase influencers
   • brands are associated with
     favorable images and idealized
• Public information/awareness
   • D.A.R.E. program
   • Seat belts save lives
   • Don’t drink and drive
• Social movements
   • P.E.T.A. (animal rights)
   • Operation Rescue (pro-life)
         maintaining and restoring
         psychological consistency
•   denial
•   bolstering
•   differentiation
•   transcendence               favorable
•   attitude modification       attitude

•   communication           ?       +                   -
    marketing consistency: have
      your cake and eat it too!
• consumer guilt and environmentally, socially
  conscious products
    • Green stock funds
    • Fair trade coffee
    • Sweatshop free goods
• cause marketing
    • Partnering with a high profile cause or a
      non-profit organization with whom the
      public sympathizes
• healthy labels
    • organic
    • anti-oxidants
    • hypo-allergenic
         marketing inconsistency:
         fostering brand-switching
• sloganeering
     • “Think different” (MacIntosh)
     • “Think outside the bun” (Taco Bell)
     • “There’s fast food, then there’s KFC” (KFC)
     • “Not your father’s Oldsmobile” (Oldsmobile)
     • “I could have had a V8” (V8 juice)
• introductory offers, special promotions, interactivity
         Creating psychological
• Smoking prevention programs
  try to undo “glamorous”
  associations with smoking
         Creating psychological

• Cognitive Dissonance Theory
  explains what happens when
  an individual’s beliefs,
  attitudes, and/or behaviors are
• The amount of dissonance
  created depends upon:
    • How volitional the decision is
    • The importance or
      consequences of the decision
    • The time, effort, or sacrifice
      involved in making the decision   A guilt appeal on the bus bench is designed to
                                        induce cognitive dissonance in patrons of this
   cognitive dissonance theory--
• counter-attitudinal advocacy (CAA)
    • advocating a position that is contrary to one’s
      own beliefs tends to shift one’s attitudes toward
      the contrary position
• commitment and cognitive dissonance
    • public commitments
         • fraternity initiations
         • marriage rituals
         • “true love waits” program
• commitments can “grow legs”

                                         Marine “blood-
                                         pinning” ritual
      Four dissonance paradigms
• Free choice paradigm: volitional •       Induced compliance paradigm:
  behavior is more likely to produce       external inducements, rewards
  dissonance                               reduce dissonance
     • the more free choice one has in        • When a person is compelled to
                                                do something, little dissonance
       making a decision, the more              is aroused because the person
       dissonance one will experience.          can rationalize the action by
• Belief disconfirmation: dissonance            saying “I had no choice.”
  is aroused when a person             •   Effort justification: we appreciate
  encounters information contrary to       things more when we work for them
  his or her beliefs.                         • The greater the effort or
     • people engage in selective               sacrifice, the greater the
       exposure to avoid dissonant              dissonance
       Psychological commitment
• Once people become
  psychologically committed to an idea
  their commitment may “grow legs.”
• Michael Jackson fans: "This is a
  very widespread phenomenon
  where fans take a celebrity into their
  hearts…and that celebrity becomes
  almost bulletproof to the fan,“ (Paul
  Levinson, professor of
  communication and media studies at
  Fordham University in New York)
       Psychological commitment
• Kimmy Cash founded the “punx4dean”
• Her 35th tattoo read “Dean Hope Truth 04”
• After Howard Dean dropped out of the
  presidential race, she declared on her
     • “we have been through entirely too much
       in this campaign to quit now. Punks don’t
       give up…Do not let this discourage you”
• She later renamed her site
  punxfordemocracy. She may have joined
  the Green Party since.                           A tattoo honoring a presidential
•            drop-out

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