Shultz, T. R., & Lepper, M. R. (1998). The consonance model of dissonance reduction. In S. J. Read & L. C. Miller (Eds.), Connectionist models of social reasoning and social behavior (pp. 211-244). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.



Recently, we proposed that the striving for cognitive consistency can be understood in terms of constraint satisfaction, a process of simultaneous adjustment of beliefs and attitudes to satisfy as many internal and external constraints as possible (Shultz & Lepper, 1992, 1996, 1997). We illustrated this theoretical reinterpretation with an artificial neural network computer model -- the consonance model -- that captures many of the findings in the major paradigms of cognitive dissonance theory. The present chapter summarizes and evaluates this enterprise. The potential payoff for this work would be to offer a novel theoretical interpretation of some of the most basic phenomena in social psychology at an abstract, yet mathematically specified, level that potentially can be unified with many other constraint satisfaction phenomena in psychology. Such a model may also lead to the generation of new predictions for empirical research on important consistency phenomena.


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