In the article we are able to see that actually the opinions of the people did not change because they got $20 or nothing. However, when they were paid $1 their opinion was different and they were actually lying. In my opinion, this happens because they have gained some money but they still want more, so they are trying to please the researchers to get more; therefore they are going against their beliefs simply to make more money. On the other hand the people that got $20, don’t feel the need to please more the researchers and they go as their belief and tell them the truth. Lastly, the people that were not paid at all don’t really think that they can get anything out of that research; therefore they do not go against their beliefs and tell the researches the truth. With this experiment we are able to see that for a person to change their beliefs there needs to be something that they wish to achieve and there needs to be something to trigger them to believe that they are able to achieve that. If those two things are true in a situation, then there exists the possibility of the person to change their beliefs, simply to be able to reach their goal.
“If at first you don't succeed, lower your standards. And if you find yourself acting out of line with your beliefs, change them.” Dissonance theory is a theory on several broad, vast topics. Festinger and Carlsmith were interested in testing what happened when people acted out of line with their beliefs. They chose to make the participants spend an hour doing boring tasks, such as filling a tray with spools, emptying it and then filling it again, and turning pegs a quarter-turn clockwise over and over again. The experimenter asked them to explain it to other subjects with lies of how fun it was. Basically, they were either paid $1, $20 or nothing. The point was to see whether the people paid the most changed their mind and said nicer things about the experiment. It turned out that the $20 people actually said as much as the people who got paid nothing, and the $1 people actually said it was more enjoyable. I think that paying them in order to try and get a good outcome is bribing. I would expect the $20 people to be nicer about the experiment, because at least they would have gotten something out of it, rather than the people who got nothing out of it. Overall, it was an interesting experiment to do as it revealed lies and beliefs.
I definitely agree with the point made by the article about how much easier to is to change one’s beliefs than to change one’s actions. According to Tom Stafford, “Changing your beliefs to be in line with how you acted may not be the most principled approach. But it is certainly easier than changing how you acted.” He says this based on the results obtained by an experiment in which people were given the task of filling a tray with spools during one full hour and were paid different amount of money in exchange. Some were given $1, some were given nothing, and others were paid $20. I believe those who were paid only $1 claimed that the experiment was valid and even interesting because their characteristically human pride kept them from admitting that it was a waste of their time, for not only was the activity boring, but they were not paid high enough for it to be worth it. On the other hand, those who were paid $20 were able to publicly admit that they had done it for money because even though it was boring, it was not a waste of time, since they earned a significant amount of money for performing a very simple task. I agree with Stafford’s point on people’s constant change of ideas based on personal experience, since I’ve often changed my perspectives due to external conditions. For example, because I wanted so bad to win an award in MUN, I had to defend communism and strongly criticize American policies I’ve always condemned. The issue, however, is that not only I defended these ideals in MUN but I also starting to believe in most of the points I brought up against America during the debates after the conference was done, thus showing that one’s principles, are, indeed, constantly changing.
**the last sentence should be: The issue, however, is that not only I defended these ideals in MUN but I also started to believe in most of the points brought up against America during debate after the conference was done, thus showing that one’s principles, are, indeed, constantly changing.
I found this article to be quite intriguing. There have been so many times in my life where I have found someone who acts differently than what they believe for a multitude of different reasons. It is one of the most annoying things to know that someone, who had the same principles as you, changed them for just a second in order to receive some sort of reward. This seems to be a common theme in High School. Students that always complain about how other students treat them badly end up acting the same when given the chance to be popular. There is pros and cons process that seems to go on inside people’s heads. In the case of this experiment, it may been so excruciating that some people would convince themselves that it was enjoyable just to forget that they were willing to participate in such an experiment, especially if they were only receiving 1 dollar. In schools, the pros of being a more popular person just seem to simply out weight the cons of going against previous beliefs. I guess it just goes to show that “if you can’t beat em, join em”. Which is really interesting because I do not think everyone would do this, I know plenty of people that simply would not care to lie to another person about the experiment, either because they are an extremely kind person, or they simply are too lazy to convince anyone that something they felt was hard was actually easy. As shown by the experiment, our brains try to present the best situation possible in which we would have our image presented as good as possible. People would not generalize us as cheap, but as people who put up with a menial task with optimism.
I found this article extremely interesting as I have my own examples of cognitive dissonance. I truly believe that this theory is valid and an example of human behavior. As humans, the hardest people to forgive sometimes can be ourselves. Yet we don't want to admit to ourselves that we made a mistake. For example, if I spent money for doing a summer course that sucked, I am going to tell my parents that it was a great program even though I may be lying. However, after convincing my parents of this idea, I slowly become accustomed to the idea that the program wasn't a waste of time and money because that's what I want to believe. Therefore, I have changed my beliefs to fit a certain position. This is cognitive dissonance. It tells us that if the human mind wants something enough, it will do everything it possibly can to achieve that want, including changing our entire beliefs. I don't think any person likes admitting that they were wrong or made a wrong choice. I found the experiment very simple, but extremely valid. It completely proved the point of cognitive dissonance. The only thing I didn't understand is why only the people receiving one dollar changed their beliefs. Shouldn't the people who didn't received anything change their beliefs to feel like their time was worthwhile? I guess one dollar can make the complete difference.
The article which explains why people act out line with their beliefs is very interesting because I was able to associate the statement to my experiences in Model of United Nations, where several times I had to represent I country whose position I didn’t agree with, but still, I was somehow forced into believing it since I was defending it, so the more I analyzed the arguments and the facts I was able to understand their situation and sympathize with them, event thought I might have condemned them before. The example that the author gives about how owner of oil companies tend to believe that there is no thing such as climate change is very interesting because it shows how people tend to act out of their beliefs if they are rewarded for it. In this case, I believe that owners of oil companies do not believe in climate changes because of course they will get more money if they defend the idea that oil spills do hurt the environment and his company is safe from judicial accusations from environmental activists or something. The idea of this psychological concept is that people tend to change their beliefs about something when they face a situation where they could be positively rewarded if they defend a different belief. Another way to look at it is from my own example of MUN experiences. For example, if you defend capitalist ideologies and you are representing Cuba, you might start to defend communism after analyzing the arguments of the socialist groups and seeing why they believe these things. Then, you will realize that many of the arguments are valid and make sense, and that they policies are actually good for some people and might be positive to the society. This happened with me when I represented China, even though I am an avid believer in liberalism, capitalism and all probably everything written in “The Wealth of Nations”, by Adam Smith.
Welcome to ToK.