Episode 63: Cognitive Dissonance, the Monty Hall Problem and a Possible Resolution?

MichaelBiopsychology, History of Psychology, Research and Stats, Social Psychology4 Comments

Cognitive Dissonance – one of the most established and respected theories in psychology – is under attack. An economist – M. Keith Chen – uses what is called the “Monty Hall problem” to show that the research on cognitive dissonance may be seriously flawed. In this episode I explain Chen’s concerns about the research on and then I propose that a new study which uses neurofeedback to study cognitive dissonance may come to the rescue at just the right moment. Join me to find out how.

Here is the table from M. Keith Chen’s article, “Rationalization and Cognitive Dissonance: Do Choices Affect or Reflect Preferences?” that shows why, once a Monkey has chosen one letter over another (in this case letter A – which could be a red M&M – over letter B, the blue M&M), letter C is likely to be chosen.

Resources on Cognitive Dissonance

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4 Comments on “Episode 63: Cognitive Dissonance, the Monty Hall Problem and a Possible Resolution?”

  1. Thanks Louisa. I went to your site and downloaded the paper. I’ll definitely read it and see if this episode needs to be updated. Thanks! Michael

  2. Hi,

    I’m the lead author on the original monkey M&M cognitive dissonance work. We have a new paper that’s just been published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that demonstrates choice-based attitude change even in the case of blind choices, that is, even when preferences can’t play a role. This refutes Keith’s argument that previous results are due to pre-existing preferences.

    You can find the paper on my website, here:

    Or in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.


  3. Thanks so much. Appreciate it. This episode required a bit of work digging through the articles and making sure I understood
    the problem correctly.


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