Note the following regarding analysis papers:
• The analysis paper is not a formal essay—do not include an introduction or conclusion.
• Do not include the date, your name, the instructor’s name, or the course title at the beginning of the analysis paper. (You may include a title page, but a title page is not required.)
• Format the analysis paper using Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spacing, and one-inch margins all around.
• The analysis paper will be 1.5–2 pages long (not less than 1.5 pages and not more than 2 pages).
Second Analysis Paper
For the analysis paper, you will explore cognitive dissonance theory, a theory proposed by psychologist Leon Festinger in 1956 to explain the tension that exists when peoples’ cognitions (self-image, thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, or perceptions) are incongruent with their behaviors.
According to cognitive dissonance theory, people use the following coping strategies to reduce cognitive dissonance:
• Change a cognition. Example: “Yes, I am an environmentalist. I know cars pollute, but, actually, cars are not a major environmental problem.”
• Add a congruent cognition to make other cognitions less inconsistent. Example: “Yes, I am an environmentalist. I know cars pollute, but my car is an old car, so keeping it on the road makes good use of the resources consumed when it was manufactured.”
• Trivialize the cognitions that are inconsistent. Example: “Yes, I am an environmentalist. I know cars pollute, but worrying about how I get to school and work is less important than my efforts to support the environmental movement politically.”
• Reduce the amount of perceived choice (i.e., believe that they have no choice or no control). Example: “Yes, I am an environmentalist. I know cars pollute, but my schedule has become too hectic; I really can’t afford to bike or take the bus anymore.”
• Engage in selective exposure, i.e., the tendency to seek information in media that agree with one’s views and to avoid dissonant information.
• Change their behavior. Example. “Yes, I am an environmentalist. I know cars pollute, so I’m only going to use the car when it’s impossible to bike or take the bus.”
For the analysis paper, you will use the following news article describing how residents of a town in Ohio were coping with the rising death toll among Ohio soldiers fighting in Iraq during the Iraq War (2003–2011): Article – War, Death, and Cognitive Dissonance (https://canvas.merrimack.edu/courses/8559/files/1075839?verifier=5PSFnCdYPBZhaXFOqBMTFnWz4KDFXKkd63f4FZQv&wrap=1)
Referring to specific details from the article, address the following questions:
• For each of the following people mentioned in the article, John Vass, Linda Shearer, David Goodman, and Robert Hoffman, identify/describe their use of coping strategies to manage their cognitive dissonance about attitudes toward President Bush, attitudes toward the war in Iraq, attitudes toward withdrawing troops from Iraq, etc. In your descriptions, include specific details from the article as supporting evidence. Keep in mind that they are conflicted about killing, death (loss), use of military action, justification for military action, etc.
• Which coping strategies were used most frequently among the four people? Why do you think this is so?
• Which were used least/not used? Why do you think this is so?
• Reporters interviewed the people included in the article. How might discussing their attitudes about the war with a reporter have increased their cognitive dissonance?
• Reflecting on the prevailing US culture,
what cultural factors might have contributed to the cognitive dissonance of the people interviewed for the article?
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