Shultz, T. R., & Lepper, M. R. (1996). Cognitive dissonance reduction as constraint satisfaction. Psychological Review, 103, 219-240.



A constraint satisfaction neural network model simulated data from the two major cognitive dissonance paradigms of insufficient justification and free choice. The so-called consonance model captured the psychological regularities within both paradigms. In several cases, the model fit the human data better than did cognitive dissonance theory. Superior fits were due to the inclusion of constraints that were not part of dissonance theory and to the increased precision inherent to this computational approach. Predictions generated by the model for a free choice between undesirable alternatives were confirmed in a new psychological experiment. The success of the consonance model underscores important, unforeseen similarities between what had been formerly regarded as the rather exotic process of dissonance reduction and a variety of other, more mundane psychological processes. Many of these processes can be understood as the progressive application of constraints supplied by beliefs and attitudes.


Copyright notice

Abstracts, papers, chapters, and other documents are posted on this site as an efficient way to distribute reprints. The respective authors and publishers of these works retain all of the copyrights to this material. Anyone copying, downloading, bookmarking, or printing any of these materials agrees to comply with all of the copyright terms. Other than having an electronic or printed copy for fair personal use, none of these works may be reposted, reprinted, or redistributed without the explicit permission of the relevant copyright holders.


To obtain a PDF reprint of this particular article, signal your agreement with these copyright terms by clicking on the statement below.


I agree with all of these copyright terms PDF 3396KB