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Thomas R. Zentall, Cognitive dissonance or contrast?


My target article suggested that cognitive dissonance may be accounted for by a simpler mechanism: contrast. Whether contrast can explain all cognitive dissonance effects is an empirical question, but it is always useful to try to distinguish simpler mechanisms from more complex cognitive ones. The insistence that cognitive dissonance is a human-only process quite different from contrast may be a self-serving means of justifying the exploitation of animals.

Author Biography

Thomas R. Zentall is Professor of Psychology at the University of Kentucky. His research interests focus on cognitive behaviors in animals including memory strategies, concept learning, and social learning. http://uky.edu/~zentall