• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Look at these issues and how an understanding of cognitive dissonance can be used to help influence motorists to change their attitudes and behaviour.

Extracts from this document...


1. Introduction One of the most complex yet important challenges faced by road safety practitioners is how to influence the hearts and minds of road users in an attempt to change their often ingrained attitudes and behaviour. If this is to be achieved then we need to have an understanding of how attitudes develop and change and how we as road safety professionals can bring about a change in attitude to bring about a behavioural change. This assignment will look at these issues and how an understanding of cognitive dissonance can be used to help influence motorists to change their attitudes and behaviour. 2. Attitudes In simple terms attitudes are an expression of our likes or dislikes of things around us often described in such ways as "I can't abide animal testing" or "I really like red wine" "speeding drivers should be banned". Whilst these are expressions of feelings these are often tied into beliefs about the stimulus i.e. animal's are treated cruelly or red wine is good for you and speeding can cause accidents. During the early 1960's research was undertaken at Yale University from which Rosenburg and Hovland (1960) suggested that there are three classes of response to stimulus. Affective Response This concerns how a person feels towards a certain stimulus. ...read more.


This theory was investigated in a study undertaken by Festinger and Carlsmith in 1959. Subjects were asked to undertake two very dull repetitive tasks. At the end some of the subjects were given one dollar and told to tell the next subject that the task was interesting. Another group of subjects were given twenty dollars and told to tell the next subject that the task was interesting. The final group was sent away once the task was complete without talking to anybody. The groups were subsequently interviewed and questioned on how interesting the task had been. The one dollar group reported that the task was interesting, the twenty dollar group reported the task was boring and the control group reported the same. The conclusion was that the one dollar group was not sufficiently rewarded for lying and therefore cognitive dissonance occurred. They convinced themselves the task was interesting in order to remove the cognitive dissonance. The twenty dollar group were sufficiently rewarded for lying so felt no cognitive dissonance. 5. Dissonance theory and the motorist. When trying to change the attitudes and behaviour of motorists we need to explore Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance. For example, when a motorist takes a "rat run" in order to avoid a queue of traffic he may not in effect get to his destination any quicker, neither may he recognise the risks associated with his action. ...read more.


During the course attitudes and behaviour is examined and the consequences of inappropriate speeding is highlighted to the participants. Anecdotal evidence has shown that attitudes of even the most sceptical participants are affected by the course and whilst there is still much research to be undertaken to ascertain the long term affects of such programmes the initial research has shown that very few of the participants re-offend within the first two years after attending a course. It is also likely, though as far as I am aware not proven, that participants on the course will go on to re-educate others within their social circle as to the consequences of speeding. The course may therefore be having a greater impact than on just the referred participants. 7. Conclusion It is said by some that are attitudes and behaviour are formed as early as a few years old and by the time we reach adulthood and become drivers these are fully ingrained. Challenging and changing these attitudes is probably the key to long term success in the road safety field. It is clear that gaining a real understanding of cognitive dissonance will help road safety professionals tackle the challenge of changing driver attitude and behaviour. Knowing how to challenge the dissonance and how to eliminate or reduce it will help us to ensure that education and publicity programmes are effectively targeting the motorist. 8. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. How does watching television influence the behaviours and cognitions of young children?

    For example, John Bowlby (1969) proposed that early attachments provide a template or 'schema' (a set view of how things work or how one should behave) that allow us to develop later attachments later in life. [24] He referred to this concept as the 'internal working model' and argued that:

  2. Communication skills in a group interaction.

    I asked them questions, and tried to get them to interact with other members of the group. I think that at times I was successful in this: however I think this is something that I could possibly improve on if I was to do this interaction again.

  1. c hallenging a client to change

    The basic sentence the client is required to repeat is "now I am aware" Other variations maybe; - What are you aware of now? - Where are you now? - What are you seeing? Feeling? - What are you doing with your hand?

  2. Is Popular culture an Influence on Violent Behaviour?

    The child was subsequently placed in a playroom setting and the incidence of aggressive behaviour was recorded. The result was that children shown the violent images were more aggressive in the playroom than those children who were not subject to the violent images.


    1923, 1933, 1949,), he rejected Freud's Secondary Drive Theory which focused on maternal relationships and childs libido and primary need for food, but was drawn towards findings from Ethology (a branch of Biology concerned with studying the behaviour of animals in natural conditions).

  2. A research project to look if bullying is spiralling out of control

    They say bullying can include a number of different things:- Physical abuse Kicking, hitting, poking Pushing Name calling, mocking, sarcasm Teasing and taunting Leaving people out of games Racial, religious, sexual harassment Spreading rumours Blackmail If you are being bullied you should ask for help.

  1. Samuel and Bryant (conservation)Bandura, Ross and Ross (aggression)Hraba and Grant (doll choice) a. What ...

    by an adult, they would imitate this aggressive behaviour when they are given the chance. The researchers of this study generated 4 hypotheses: * "...subjects exposed to aggressive models will reproduce aggressive acts resembling those of the models..." * "...the observation of non-aggressive models will have a generalized inhibiting effect on the subject's subsequent behaviour..."

  2. To what extent are the traditional attitudes and values of Chinese society part of ...

    Even though Adeline felt neglected by her father step mother step siblings as well as siblings, two of her closest friends who seemed to appreciate her more was her grandfather yeye, who appreciated all his grandchildren and her aunt baba, who took Adeline in after her mothers death, and cared

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work