1957年，心理学家莱昂·费斯廷格首次描述了认知失调理论。根据费斯廷格的观点，认知失调发生在人们的思想和情感与他们的行为不一致时，会产生一种不舒服，不和谐的感觉。这种不一致或不和谐的例子可能包括那些尽管关心环境的人，一个尽管重视诚实而撒谎的人，或者那些奢侈购买但却相信节俭的人。经历认知失调可以导致人们尝试减少他们的不适感 – 有时候会出现令人惊讶或意想不到的方式。因为不和谐的经历是如此不舒服，人们非常积极地尝试减少他们的不和谐。 Festinger甚至建议减少不和谐是一个基本需求：经历不和谐的人会试着减少这种感觉，就像感到饥饿的人被迫吃饭一样。根据心理学家的观点，如果我们的行为涉及我们看待自己的方式，并且我们随后无法证明为什么我们的行为与我们的信仰不符，那么我们的行为可能会产生更多的不和谐。例如，由于个人通常希望将自己视为道德人，因此不道德行为会产生更高程度的不和谐。想象一下，有人付给你500美元，告诉别人一个小谎言。一般人可能不会因为说谎而错过你 – 500美元是很多钱，对大多数人来说可能足以证明一个相对无关紧要的谎言。但是，如果你只得到几美元的报酬，你可能会有更多的麻烦证明你的谎言，并且这样做感觉不太舒服。 1959年，费斯廷格和他的同事詹姆斯卡尔史密斯发表了一项有影响力的研究，表明认知失调会以意想不到的方式影响行为。在这项研究中，研究参与者被要求花一个小时完成钻孔任务（例如，反复将线轴装入托盘）。在任务结束后，一些参与者被告知有两个版本的研究：在一个（参与者所在的版本）中，参与者事先没有被告知任何关于该研究的内容;另一方面，参与者被告知这项研究很有趣，也很有趣。研究人员告诉参与者，下一次研究会议即将开始，他们需要有人告诉下一位参与者该研究会很愉快。然后，他们要求参与者告诉下一位参与者该研究是否有趣（这意味着向下一位参与者撒谎，因为该研究的目的是为了无聊）。一些参与者被提供1美元来做这件事，而其他参与者被提供20美元（因为这项研究是在50多年前进行的，这对参与者来说将是很多钱）。实际上，没有“其他版本”的研究让参与者相信这些任务既有趣又有趣 – 当参与者告诉“其他参与者”该研究很有趣时，他们实际上（他们不知道）说话致研究人员。 Festinger和Carlsmith希望在参与者中产生一种不和谐的感觉 – 在这种情况下，他们的信念（应该避免说谎）与他们的行为不一致（他们只是欺骗某人）。在说谎后，研究的关键部分开始了。另一个人（似乎不是原始研究的一部分）然后要求参与者报告研究实际上有多有趣。对于没有被要求撒谎的参与者，以及为了交换20美元而撒谎的参与者，他们倾向于报告该研究确实不是很有趣。毕竟，那些以20美元告诉谎言的参与者认为他们可以为谎言辩护，因为他们得到的报酬相对较好（换句话说，收到大笔金钱减少了他们的不和谐感）。然而，仅支付1美元的参与者更难以证明他们对自己的行为是合理的 – 他们不想承认自己曾说过这么少钱的谎言。因此，该小组的参与者最终通过报告该研究确实感兴趣来减少他们感受到的另一种不和谐。换句话说，参与者似乎通过决定当他们说研究很愉快并且他们真的喜欢这项研究时决定他们没有撒谎来减少他们所感受到的不和谐。
In 1957, the psychologist Leon Festinger first described the theory of cognitive dissonance. According to Festinger, cognitive dissonance occurs when people’s thoughts and emotions are inconsistent with their behavior, creating a feeling of discomfort and disharmony. Examples of such inconsistencies or discord may include those who care about the environment, those who lie while paying attention to honesty, or those who buy luxury but believe in frugality. Experiencing cognitive disorders can lead people to try to reduce their discomfort – sometimes in a surprising or unexpected way. Because the experience of disharmony is so uncomfortable, people are very active in trying to reduce their disharmony. Festinger even suggests that reducing disharmony is a basic requirement: people who experience disharmony will try to reduce this feeling, just as people who feel hungry are forced to eat. According to psychologists, if our behavior involves the way we see ourselves, and we can’t later prove why our behavior is not in line with our beliefs, then our behavior may create more disharmony. For example, because individuals often want to see themselves as moral people, unethical behavior creates a higher degree of disharmony. Imagine someone paying you $500 and telling someone a little lie. The average person may not miss you because of lying – $500 is a lot of money, and for most people it may be enough to prove a relatively insignificant lie. However, if you only get a few dollars in compensation, you may have more trouble to prove your lies, and it does not feel very comfortable. In 1959, Festinger and his colleague James Carl Smith published an influential study showing that cognitive dissonance affects behavior in unexpected ways. In this study, study participants were asked to spend an hour completing the drilling task (for example, repeatedly loading the spool into the tray). At the end of the mission, some participants were told that there were two versions of the study: in one (the version in which the participant was present), the participants were not informed of any content about the study beforehand; on the other hand, the participants were told this The study is very interesting and interesting. The researchers told participants that the next research meeting is about to begin and they need someone to tell the next participant that the study will be very enjoyable. They then asked the participants to tell the next participant whether the study was interesting (which meant lying to the next participant because the purpose of the study was to be boring). Some participants were offered $1 to do this, while the other participants were offered $20 (because the study was conducted more than 50 years ago, which would be a lot of money for the participants). In fact, there is no “other version” of the study that convinces participants that these tasks are both interesting and interesting – when the participants tell “other participants” that the study is interesting, they actually (they don’t know) speak to the researchers. Festinger and Carlsmith hope to create a sense of disharmony among the participants – in this case, their beliefs (which should avoid lying) are inconsistent with their behavior (they just deceive someone). After lying, the key part of the research began. Another person (which does not seem to be part of the original study) then asked participants to report how interesting the study was actually. For participants who are not asked to lie, and participants who lie about exchanging $20, they tend to report that the study is not really interesting. After all, those who told lies at $20 thought they could defend lies because they were paid relatively well (in other words, receiving large sums of money reduced their sense of disharmony). However, participants who only pay $1 are more likely to prove that they are justified in their actions – they don’t want to admit that they have said such a small amount of money. Therefore, the participants of the group eventually reduced the other dissonance they felt by reporting that the study was indeed of interest. In other words, the participants seem to decide that they don’t lie to reduce the dissonance they feel when they say that the study is very enjoyable and they really like the study.