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Ebook When Prophecy Fails by Leon Festinger read! Book Title: When Prophecy Fails
The author of the book: Leon Festinger
ISBN: 1905177194
ISBN 13: 9781905177196
Language: English
Edition: Pinter & Martin Ltd
Date of issue: January 16th 2009
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 632 KB
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Reader ratings: 7.1

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In 1954 Leon Festinger, a brilliant young experimental social psychologist in the process of outlining a new theory of human behavior - the theory of cognitive dissonance - and his colleagues infiltrated a cult who believed the end of the world was only months away. How would these people feel when their prophecy remained unfulfilled? Would they admit the error of their prediction, or would they readjust their reality to make sense of the new circumstances?

"We've all experienced the futility of trying to change a strong conviction, especially if the convinced person has some investment in his belief. We're familiar with the variety of ingenious defenses with which people protect their convictions, managing to keep them unscathed thru the most devastating attacks. But human resourcefulness goes beyond simply protecting a belief. Suppose an individual believes something with a whole heart; suppose further a commitment to this belief, suppose irrevocable actions have been taken because of it; finally, suppose evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that the belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of such beliefs than ever before. Indeed, s/he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting others to this view. How and why does such a response to contradictory evidence come about? This is the question on which this book focuses. We hope that, by the end of the volume, we will have provided an adequate answer to the question, an answer documented by data."

When Prophecy Fails is a classic text in social psychology authored by L. Festinger, H. Riecken and S. Schachter. It chronicles the experience of a UFO cult that believed the end of the world was at hand. In effect, it's a sociopsychological study of a modern group that predicted the destruction of the world & the adjustments made when the prediction failed to materialize.

"The authors have done something as laudable as it is unusual for social psychologists. They espied a fleeting social movement important to a line of research they were interested in and took after it. They recruited a team of observers, joined the movement & watched it from within under great difficulties until its crisis came and went. Their report is of interest as much for the method as for the substance."--Everett C. Hughes, The American Journal of Sociology.

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Ebook When Prophecy Fails read Online! Leon Festinger was interested in science at a young age, and decided to pursue a career in psychology. He received his bachelor's degree from City College of New York and went on to Iowa State University for his master's degree and his Ph.D. (which he received in 1942). For the next several years he made his living teaching at different universities until he went to Stanford in 1955.

At Stanford, Festinger began to fully develop the idea he called cognitive dissonance. The original idea stemmed from his observation that people generally liked consistency in their daily lives. For example, some individuals always sit in the same seat on the train or bus when they commute to work, or always eat lunch in the same restaurant. Cognitive dissonance is a part of this need for consistence.

Essentially, Festinger explained, all people hold certain beliefs, and when they are asked to do something that runs counter to their beliefs, conflict arises. Cognitive dissonance comes into play when people try to reconcile the conflicting behaviors or ideas.

Cognitive dissonance soon became an important and much-discussed theory. Over the years it has generated considerable research, in part because it is one of a number of theories based on the idea that consistency of thought is a strong motivating factor in people.

Festinger continued his work at Stanford until 1968 when he returned to New York City to assume the Else and Hans Staudinger professorship at the New School for Social Research. He continued his research on cognitive dissonance as well as other behavioral issues. He was also active in professional organizations including the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He continued to work until his death on February 11, 1989, from liver cancer. He was survived by his wife Trudy and four children.

Taken from the the Encyclopedia of Psychology

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