August 27, 2007

cognative dissonance.

recently (and by that i mean today) i have taken a liking to going to not only my own classes but the classes of some of my good friends as well.

i went to a social psychology class today that was possibly one of the coolest class periods i've ever experienced. this is frustrating for two reasons: 1) i'm not a psych major nor do i ever plan to be and 2) i'm not in the class.

i was sitting there listening to the professor (and the rest of the class...it was a rather dynamic group) talk about cognative dissonance, and perhaps it was simply the excessive psychological vibe i was getting at the time, but i got really confused by my interest level. i'm not changing my major or anything, but i was so surprised at how attractive the topics were.

situation:
a guy is told to do remove four pegs from a peg board in order from right to left, and then are told to replace the four pegs in the same order they removed them in...and then repeat for half an hour. yes. seriously mindless activity. then, as if it isn't horrible enough already, after a half hour the examiner switches it up a bit: take the same four pegs and turn them each a quarter turn clockwise...then repeat for another 30 minutes. by now this guy is likely pondering a way to kill himself with these pegs. what a horribly terribly awfully wasted hour.

at the end of the hour the guy gets up to leave the room. before he goes, the man running the study tells the guy to tell the next test subject (an absolutely gorgeous female) that the test was really fun and enjoyable even though everyone in the world knows the thing sucks big time. so the guy does. he tells this chick that the deal is fun and that he liked it and everything. THEN, in the next room, another dude asks the guy if he liked the survey...and the guy says "yeah, it wasnt bad."

they ran this test a number of times, always with a guy first and an attractive female next in the waiting room, and an overwhelming percentage of guys say "yeah, sure, it was okay."

WHAT. this is horrible mindless torture! no one would be okay with spending an hour removing, inserting, removing, inserting, removing, inserting, twisting, twisting, twisting - even now i'm already growing tired of typing those words. but what idiot would lie about that!? if i'm in that room and some guy says "how's it coming?" i'd probably tell him i'd rather be at the dentist.

but here's what happens: there is an inconsistancy between the guy's thoughts and actions. he thinks it was lame. he says it was great. these don't coincide. because the guy tells the hottie in the lobby that its fun he starts to feel guilty because of this inconsistency, so what does he do? he decides that if he makes himself actually think that it was kinda fun then he wont feel guilty anymore. he obviously can't change his actions, so he has to change his feelings to cope with the situation.

i learned that today for fun.
nerd.

-ap.

1 comment:

karlie said...

COOOOOOL i'm glad you like this stuff, and that i am just reading this a month later.