Cognitive Dissonance

Essay by psychmajor August 2009

download word file, 7 pages 5.0

Alcohol has been one of the most fortuitous accidents known to humankind. Throughout history, alcohol has played an important role in religion and worship, provided needed nutrients, and has been used widely in medicinal, antiseptic and analgesic applications (Hanson, 1995). Alcohol however, is not reveled for its benefits to man but for its ability to inhibit inhibitions, provide entertainment and foster situations conducive of disaster. This paper will focus on a simple situation where an individual has made a conscious decision to consume alcohol in excess and get behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle. When alcohol is consumed it affects the central nervous system directly by reducing impulse control, reaction time and judgment. In controlled situations this behavior might be somewhat entertaining but in reality this dangerous behavior happens enough times outside the controlled environment to equate to over 12,000 alcohol related fatalities year over years since 2007 (Mothers Against Drunk Driving , 2009) and 1.4

million driving under the influence arrests on average (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2009). This paper will also analyze the social, cultural and spiritual influences as they relate to alcohol consumption, describe the reciprocal relationship between the behavior of consuming alcohol and associated attitudes and explain how an individual could have used the cognitive dissonance theory to rationalize his or her behavior.

Social, Cultural and Spiritual InfluencesA person's identity is influenced by his or her social, cultural and spiritual beliefs. These beliefs influence and guide a person's behavior and establish his or her personal ethics. Social influences come in many forms; they can come from groups, gender stereotypes, and from the media. The peer groups that a person is a part of can influence an individual's behavior with peer pressure. This pressure from the group can be positive or negative depending...