Attitudes and dating aggression a cognitive dissonance approach

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Dissonance theory, from social psychology, states that the possession of inconsistent cognitions creates psychological discomfort that motivates people to alter their cognitions to produce greater consistency (Festinger, 1957).

Numerous induced-compliance experiments have found that if participants are encouraged to act in a way that is contrary to an original attitude (a counter-attitudinal stance), it ostensibly generates cognitive dissonance that leads people to shift their attitudes to reduce the perceived inconsistency between the original and the new attitude (Leippe, 1994).

The etiologic model posits that thin-ideal internalization, perceived pressure to be thin, and elevated body mass lead to body dissatisfaction.Dissonance is maximized when participants feel that they voluntarily assumed the counter-attitudinal stance, because otherwise they attribute their inconsistent behavior to the demands of the situation and little attitudinal change results (Festinger, 1957).In addition, counter-attitudinal acts putatively result in greater dissonance-induction when they are performed in front of an audience (Green, Scott, Diyankova, Gasser, & Pederson, 2005).Specifically, Aronson, Fried, and Stone (1991) found that participants assigned to a condition in which they prepared and delivered a speech promoting condom use showed greater increases in intentions to use condoms in the future than participants assigned to prepare, but not deliver, the same speech.DBIs have also been found to produce lasting behavioral change, as longitudinal studies have shown that a public commitment manipulation can lead people to reduce their energy consumption for six months or more (e.g., Pallak et al., 1980).

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