An Introduction to Leon Festinger's A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance

Why do people continue to do things they know are harmful? A short video analysis of Leon Festinger's A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance discusses the conflict between held beliefs and contradictory information, and the lengths that individuals will go to reaffirm their views or avoid opposing arguments.

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Instructional Ideas

  • Have class members choose another belief to apply to the concept of cognitive dissonance, such as racial stereotypes or social views
  • Use in a psychology class or in health when discussing smoking and its addictive nature
Classroom Considerations

  • You can find the full analysis of the video at the publisher's website
  • Comment section is open to the public; consider showing the video in full screen to avoid it
Pros

  • Applicable to the modern political climate
  • Uses a real-world example of smoking to illustrate the text's main point
  • Engaging content and presentation will have learners eager to learn more about Festinger's argument
Cons

  • None