Psychology Coursework Assignment on Cognitive Dissonance


The behavior I would like to change is: eating healthy to gain weight (I am underweight) (not anorexia) just have a fast metabolism. My behavior for this is I want to be healthier and gain healthy weight to not look like I have a children’s body.

Application Assignment # 2: Cognitive Dissonance

For this assignment, you will be engaging in a desired behavior change. We will be using the theory of cognitive dissonance to bring about a successful behavior change for at least 24 hours. Cognitive dissonance theory states that we feel discomfort when we behave in ways that threatens our self-esteem. In other words, we feel distress when our behavior is in conflict with one or more of our attitudes or beliefs that we hold as important. One way to reduce cognitive dissonance to is change our behavior.

For this assignment, you will:

  • Select a behavior that you would like to change (e.g., I would like to exercise more).
  • Write down what the behavior is and what your attitudes and beliefs are towards the behavior. In order to bring about a successful change, your attitudes and beliefs must be in line with your desired behavior (e.g., Attitude: I want to feel good and live well. Belief: I believe that exercising more will help me accomplish this).
  • Make a list of three actions that you can take to be successful in your new behavior (e.g., 1. Go to the gym, 2. Park car far away and walk in parking lots, 3. Take stairs instead of elevators).
  • Engage in the new behavior for 24 hours (I have heard that students use this assignment to completely cut out undesirable behaviors such as stopping smoking, losing weight, and stopping procrastinating for the whole semester and even longer!).

Type a 3-4-page paper using APA format (use my first paper as a guide for formatting, as well as the other websites I have referenced in class).

  • Summarize your experience; include a definition of cognitive dissonance.
  • List your chosen behavior and the attitudes and beliefs you held before and after this project, describe how they were dissonant beforethis assignment and how they were consonant afterwards (or if it didn’t work that way for you, describe that process instead).
  • Tell me how the process applied to your behavior change, whether you were successful or not and how this helped you understand cognitive dissonance theory.
  • Describe any external or internal justification that took place, before, during or after this assignment in regards to the chosen behavior.
  • Consider how this assignment has changed your approach to unwanted behaviors in general.

You are not obligated to take on anything too personal, but you are welcome to do so. Feel free to pick something like study more or read all my email. The point is to use the concepts in a way that is relevant to your life so they make sense to you. Let me know if you need any ideas.

Application Paper #2: Cognitive Dissonance, Chapter 6 (Due September 29th, midnight): Choose a behavior that you would like to change. Identify what your attitude is about the behavior, how you currently behave, and what you would like to change your behavior to. For 24 hours, change your behavior to the desired behavior. Type up a summary explaining your experience, how it relates to cognitive dissonance, if this activity changed your attitude, and if you will continue to engage in your desired new behavior. Some examples include: eating healthy, not eating meat, not smoking, engaging in environmentally friendly behaviors such as recycling – see me if you need additional ideas.