The Role of Emotions in Cognitive Dissonance and Cognitive Behaviorism

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The study compares the role of emotions in the research on optimism and the role of emotions in research on altruism. The lead is taken from Sutton's lecture that is on optimism and of van Vugt that is on altruism. At the very onset it is best to say that available material on the altruism side is much more than on the optimism side.


The study then focuses on the identity with its definition and how society itself fosters identity in individuals. It next utilises the research of Taylor and Brown (1988) to show how positive illusions can not only boost self-enhancement but also, at right levels, enhance societal objectives too. This is the crux of the study and it goes on to utilise the research of Van Vugt et al to show how self-enhancement motives can be made to dovetail with altruistic motives. The study concludes on the note that a society which generates the minimum amount of cognitive dissonance in individuals in the apparently conflicting aspects of self-enhancement and altruism by showing that both are compatible to a great degree will be successful in survival.
Though there seems to be an apparent conflicting role of emotions in promoting personal welfare compared to social welfare Nathaniel Branden, psychotherapist, author and consultant says - "There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness and generosity" (Politics of self-esteem). The study begins on this positive note. The statement is true where the self-esteem is balanced and rational, as will be found later. ...
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