ABSTRACT

The preceding chapters have shown that there is abundant evidence in support of Festinger's (1957) original statement of dissonance theory. Having cognitions that are inconsistent tends to create dissonance in a person, and as dissonance arousal increases there are increased attempts to reduce or eliminate it. The magnitude of dissonance is a direct function of the importance of the inconsistent cognitions, and in regard to anyone cognition, the magnitude of dissonance is a direct function of the ratio of dissonant to consonant cognitions. In general, dissonance can be reduced by eliminating dissonant relationships between cognitions, and where more than one relationship is concerned, by reducing the ratio of dissonant to consonant cognitions. Further, because cognitions differ in their resistance to change, a person will attempt to reduce dissonance by changing those cognitions that are least resistant.