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Commitment

 

Explanations > Theories > Commitment

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

A commitment is a public or private decision to act. If we make a commitment, we often feel bound to follow through on it, for fear of social rejection or simply due to the threat of cognitive dissonance.

When we are committed to something, we will not change our minds very easily, especially if that commitment was public.

Research

Knox and Inkster (1968) asked people about to make a $2 bet on a horse how likely they horse was to win. They also asked people who had just placed the same value bet. They found that people who had just bet on a horse were even more convinced that it would win. 

Example

People who volunteer to help a political party will over-estimate their chances of winning.

So what?

Using it

When getting people to make a commitment, make sure it will cause more dissonance for them to break the commitment than to fulfill the commitment. For example by making the commitments written and public.

Defending

Refuse to make commitments until you are ready. Do not be rushed.

See also

Consistency Theory, Counter-Attitudinal Advocacy (CAA), Conversion

References

Knox and Inkster (1968)

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