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A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance Hardcover – January 1, 1962


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press (1962)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804701318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804701310
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By James. L. Morton on March 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In Theory of Cognitive Disonance, Festinger has written a book we can all easily follow along and indeed find hard to put down. The book is not cold and technical like so many other books in this field, on the contrary, it's quite engaging.
His theory, which has been referenced in media often, is thouroughly interesting. It describes the means by which one's mind tries to maintain consistency between one's attitudes, behaviours, and beliefs. The examples set forth are both funny and intriguing.
A book you will thoroughly enjoy while learning a great deal about the functionings of your own mind.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kent Ponder on May 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Still (as of May, 2009) one of my few favorite psychology treatises of all time, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance best exemplified the pivotal concept of, and was a key bibliographic source for, my 1972 Georgetown Univ. doctoral dissertation topic (the title itself was longer, applied to specific subjects), "Cognitive Consistency and Interpersonal Conflict."

I'm revisiting this subject today because just two days ago a local professional psychologist I met at the gym described Festinger's book as "maybe the highest overall explanatory power regarding human behavior of anything I've ever read." The gist of Festinger's theory, distilled from his ample research and experience, is that there is systemic pressure toward organic consistency (the opposite of dissonance) among each person's percepts, concepts, overall sociological interactions and worldview tendencies, and that new information felt to be inconsistent with those is strongly resisted, often not understood or even clearly perceived because this new info is dissonant, i.e. cacophonous, with the person's already incorporated data/feelings/beliefs.

Since 1972 I've found nothing to disconfirm Festinger's theory, and dozens of elements to confirm it. One recent excellent lay presentation, the cover article of New Scientist magazine of about a year ago, "Two Tribes," summarizes two genetically distinct brain types that greatly differ, for example, in a standard cognitive measurement known as "tolerance of ambiguity." The article, directed mainly toward Americans, presented tested data demonstrating that, in general, individuals of higher tolerance of ambiguity were more frequently found among Democrats, and those of lower tolerance more often among Republicans.
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