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Social Psychology: Cognitive dissonance Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 12th, 2019

The theory of cognitive dissonance states that in an effort to maintain cognitive consistency within our respective minds, this often results in the creation of irrational or even maladaptive behavioral constructs (Antoniou et al., 2013). When it comes to boredom and effort, cognitive dissonance is often put into play into justifying a particularly boring exercise as being worthwhile resulting in a greater degree of effort put into it.

For example, most people tend to be bored at their jobs due to their nature and, as such, question why they continue to work at something that is apparently boring. Through the application of cognitive dissonance people in effect interpret the continued activity as interest resulting in them interpreting that they actually like their work resulting in more effort being put into it since they have fooled themselves into liking it (Ask et al., 2011).

Through the work of Roth (2010), it can be seen that the concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy is based on internal self-predilections regarding particular points of view or ideas. One example Roth (2010) points to is the current predilection within the U.S. to associate minority populations such as Latinos, Hispanics and African Americans with crime.

Racial profiling does exist in the case of many states within the U.S. wherein there is a disproportionate level of suspicion placed on people from minorities as there are on Caucasians. As a result of such a viewpoint, people from minorities are often cast with a significant level of suspicion which limits their capacity to be employed in some areas due to the manner in which they are associated with crime.

The end result is that such individuals have no choice but to turn to crime due to the limited number of opportunities they have. In the case of people from African American decent, Lee & Ahn (2013) points to the results of their study which showed that many within the African American community had negative expectations of themselves due to the manner in which they have been treated by society.

They state that society views them as nothing more than “gang bangers” and criminals and, as a result, they tend to focus on the viewpoint that they will have relatively few opportunities to succeed in life. The end result is the creation of negative self-esteem which limits such an individual’s willingness to attempt possible recourses that could result in a better life for them. In the end this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy wherein they become exactly that people said they were.

It is based on this that the best way of breaking away from creating a self-fulfilling prophecy within your own life is to perform a means of self-evaluation early on in order to determine whether what people are saying about you is actually true. Self-evaluation often involves the use of self-attribution in order to determine “what makes you tick” so to speak. By doing so, you will be able to determine whether or not you have a predilection towards committing unethical or criminal actions.

Once a proper self-evaluation has been conducted, it is usually the case that a person would discover that the negative connotations that people have attached to them are in fact false result in them casting of their previously negative self-attribution and instead focusing on their own positive aspects.

Reference List

Antoniou, C., Doukas, J. A., & Subrahmanyam, A. (2013). Cognitive Dissonance, Sentiment, and Momentum. Journal Of Financial & Quantitative Analysis, 48(1), 245-275.

Ask, K., Reinhard, M., Marksteiner, T., & Granhag, P. (2011). Elasticity in evaluations of criminal evidence: Exploring the role of cognitive dissonance. Legal & Criminological Psychology, 16(2), 289-306.

Lee, D. L., & Ahn, S. (2013). The Relation of Racial Identity, Ethnic Identity, and Racial Socialization to Discrimination-Distress: A Meta-Analysis of Black Americans. Journal Of Counseling Psychology, 60(1), 1-14.

Roth, W. D. (2010). Racial Mismatch: The Divergence Between Form and Function in Data for Monitoring Racial Discrimination of Hispanics Racial Mismatch. Social Science Quarterly (Wiley-Blackwell), 91(5), 1288-1311.

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