Event Title

Do Dogs Experience Cognitive Dissonance?

Graduation Year

2015

Location

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan Universtiy

Start Date

18-4-2015 9:00 AM

End Date

18-4-2015 10:00 AM

Description

Cognitive dissonance, the mental discomfort experienced when a person hold contradictory beliefs and/or behaviors, has been studied through the effort justification paradigm – wherein people prefer a reward more when they have put more effort towards it. Contrast theory, a behaviorist approach, says this preference is due to the greater difference between participant’s starting and ending state. Dogs participated in a version of the effort justification paradigm designed to test if they experience cognitive dissonance. They alternated between two versions of a task: hearing either a severely or mildly annoying noise before receiving one of two differently colored dog treats from a “treat machine”. Afterwards, they were given a preference test to see if they formed a preference for the treat associated with the severely annoying noise (consistent with the effort justification paradigm). One explanation for the effort justification effect is contrast theory, which was eliminated by assigning dogs to either a contingent or non-contingent treatment. In the contingent treatment, noises preceded treats predictably and the noises and treats both came from the treat machine. In the non-contingent treatment, noises randomly preceded the treats and noises came from the other side of the room. Dogs’ preferences will be explored in light of cognitive dissonance and contrast theories.

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Apr 18th, 9:00 AM Apr 18th, 10:00 AM

Do Dogs Experience Cognitive Dissonance?

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan Universtiy

Cognitive dissonance, the mental discomfort experienced when a person hold contradictory beliefs and/or behaviors, has been studied through the effort justification paradigm – wherein people prefer a reward more when they have put more effort towards it. Contrast theory, a behaviorist approach, says this preference is due to the greater difference between participant’s starting and ending state. Dogs participated in a version of the effort justification paradigm designed to test if they experience cognitive dissonance. They alternated between two versions of a task: hearing either a severely or mildly annoying noise before receiving one of two differently colored dog treats from a “treat machine”. Afterwards, they were given a preference test to see if they formed a preference for the treat associated with the severely annoying noise (consistent with the effort justification paradigm). One explanation for the effort justification effect is contrast theory, which was eliminated by assigning dogs to either a contingent or non-contingent treatment. In the contingent treatment, noises preceded treats predictably and the noises and treats both came from the treat machine. In the non-contingent treatment, noises randomly preceded the treats and noises came from the other side of the room. Dogs’ preferences will be explored in light of cognitive dissonance and contrast theories.