Harmon-Jones, Eddie (2017) Clarifying concepts in cognitive dissonance theory. Animal Sentience 12(5)
Thomas R. Zentall, Cognitive dissonance or contrast?
This commentary on Zentall’s target article focuses primarily on clarifying some postulates and variables in cognitive dissonance theory. I discuss the adaptive motivational functions of dissonance arousal and dissonance reduction, and attempt to clarify some past dissonance experiments and to tease apart a dissonance theory and contrast explanation of effort-justification-type effects. The evidence and arguments reviewed here support the explanatory power of cognitive dissonance theory in a wide variety of circumstances in human and nonhuman animals, but they depend on first defining concepts such as “cognitions” quite broadly, as Festinger did when he originally proposed the theory.