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Justification of Effort

 

Explanations > Theories > Justification of Effort

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

 

Description

If I have to work hard to achieve something, I will afterwards find it more attractive.

This effect works because the thought of having wasted effort would show me to be stupid and consequently damage my self-esteem. If others know about the effort, then the cost of backing out is even higher.

Research

Aronson and Mills (1959) recruited students for a discussion group, making it varyingly difficult for each third. When asked to rate a boring tape recording, it was scored most highly by those who had had the most severe initiation.

Example

Gangs and secret societies have known this for years, with sometimes very painful and degrading initiation rites.

So what?

Using it

Make entrance examinations, rituals, etc. difficult. This will not only help keep members—it will also give your club an air of exclusivity.

See also

Cognitive Dissonance, Post-Decision Dissonance, Investment Model, Involvement

References

Aronson and Mills (1959)

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