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When Prophecy Fails Paperback – February 25, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
And the writing style is lucidly accessible and the detailed characterizations of the people involved and action unfolding are compelling enough for even the casual reader. I've always been a fan of Leon Festinger's work, but no matter one's personal givings about dissonance theory, it is tough not to appreciate the laborious efforts of this tireless and dedicated research team in producing this study. I admire those who are able to foresee real-world applications of their ideas in advance so as to be able to properly test them as the real-world events unfold. Festinger et al. were brilliant in this regard. A must-read for anyone interested in solid research methodologies and applied learning.
This is an interesting theory, and the book opens by providing a series of brief historical examples of cults and religious movements which appear to have followed just such a trend. But as the authors quickly point out, the data available from the historical record lacks the necessary depth to allow for any rigorous scientific conclusions to be drawn. And with that, we move on to the bulk of the text: a direct study of a small group of individuals, at one time convinced that the world was imminently doomed... except for those who would be saved by spacemen riding flying saucers.
The authors initially discovered the group in question through a newspaper article. After some quick research determined that the believers met the necessary criteria to test the authors' behavioral hypothesis, they commenced direct and organized observation of the group's activities. And thus, the majority of the 250 pages of the text is dedicated to recounting their entire experience following this little doomsday cult for a period of about two months.
The book does eventually make a decent case in support of the original theory, however I found getting there a bit of a chore.Read more ›
"Cognitive dissonance" is a useful lens to view movements and even examine the stresses in one's own life when one finds oneself holding two contradictory "cognitions."
It is hard to understand how intelligent people could act like the subjects in When Prophecy Fails. Ultimately, the book is a tragedy about people's need to believe.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is so relevant today - the determination of the massive Global Warming cult exposed and explained
In the face of irrefutable evidence they strive for proof:... Read more
A must read for those interested in the way cognitive dissonance is handled by those involved and why so many hold to even ridiculous beliefs in spite of evidence refuting those... Read morePublished 18 days ago by R.D.
A must read for anyone interested in the science of thinking and the problems which prevent rational thought. Read morePublished 5 months ago by TrialAuthor
A classic in psychology literature and a must read for anyone interested in the power of group processPublished 6 months ago by Paul I.
I love it, but I like strange but true and slightly sad stories about the trouble that troubled people get into trusting their subconscious. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mona Chrone
Read the first printing...marvelous book! Was involved with social research at the time..so especially enjoyed
following the methods used. Read more
Great insight into those poor people who follow their delusions to the bitter end.Published 11 months ago by Jon the Librarian
Social psychology book about the in depth examination of a religious doomsday cult who's end of the world prediction fails. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Corey S.