Cognitive Dissonance Theory Essay

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Cognitive Dissonance Theory and Minimal Justification

It was in the 1950's that researchers first postulated the theory known as "minimal justification," a theory that involves "offering the least amount of incentive necessary to obtain compliance." ("SPC 3210, Chapter 7") When one is asked to behave in a certain way that creates cognitive dissonance, the person will develop an aversion for the dissonance and automatically seek ways to reduce it. One way to accomplish this task is to change the Dissonance Ratio, or the ratio of consonant cognitions to dissonant ones, by either decreasing the dissonant cognitions or increasing the consonant. Other ways are to reduce the importance of dissonant cognitions, or changing beliefs to eliminate dissonance.

In the case of minimal justification, the way to reduce the greatest cognitive dissonance is to offer the minimal incentive necessary.
Research has determined that offering a small justification to create personal cognitive dissonance forces a person to find creative ways to decrease that cognitive dissonance; while offering a large reward becomes the justification itself. When a person has a need to reduce dissonance because of their behavior, they often change they way they think or believe in order to better accept this behavior.

One way that minimal justification could be used is in the upcoming election. In order to get someone to vote for a specific candidate minimal justification could be used; especially if that voter's beliefs are antithetical to the candidates. What is necessary to accomplish this is for candidate A to create dissonance in the minds of the voters about candidate B. Then candidate A must offer….....

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