Some of its major advantages include its consideration of more than two cognitions at the same time, recognition of the significance of certain cognitions more than others, and acknowledging that the importance of cognitions has an impact on the level or amount of dissonance. Notably, the main way with which attitude change and persuasion occurs through this theory is that it promotes differentiation of good and bad thoughts or assumptions.
The Singaporean government can accomplish its goal of encouraging marriage and procreation through the implementation of various activities that are based on the theory of cognitive dissonance. The first step for the government to induce attitude change through the theory is through creating conflict between the people's behavior and the attitudes that they have. In this case, the government should create awareness of the need for people to be involved in marriages and procreation. Through education and awareness, the government should focus on establishing ways that address the outstanding obstacles towards marriage and procreation.
The government can help in encouraging marriage and procreation by educating people on the need for start their own businesses rather than wait for employment opportunities. Secondly, Singaporeans need information on how they can continue with schooling while in marriage as part of their efforts to acquire higher skills that is necessary for entry into the labor force. This will help to counter the beliefs and assumptions of these people that getting a job and acquiring higher skills for entry into the labor are the prerequisites to marriage. Such information will contribute to mental conflicts that will stimulate attitude change and persuade Singaporeans to marriage and procreation.
The other main way for the government to promote attitude change is by eliminating the outright coercion and incentive schemes. The coercion and incentive scheme is evident in the governmental measures like use of sanctions for unmarried working adults as well as income tax reductions and subsidies for childbirth, basic education, and raising a child respectively. While the outright coercion and incentive scheme promotes behavior change, it doesn't necessarily lead to attitude change and persuasion (James & Gutkind, 1985). The reason for the lack of attitude change and persuasion through coercion and incentive scheme is because the scheme doesn't create the dissonance needed for attitude change. Moreover, the resultant behavior change fails to produce necessary dissonance or attitude change because of the absence of volitional component.
Some of the three major components that have an effect on attitude change are insufficient justification, large incentives, and effort justification. The main effect of large incentives is that it doesn't necessarily promote attitude change though it largely contributes to behavioral change. A large incentive doesn't encourage changes in people's attitude because of the lack of volitional component in their decisions and actions. Insufficient justification is part of the cognitive dissonance tension with which an individual is aware of two incompatible cognitions. Little or insufficient justification promotes the occurrence of dissonance since an individual realizes that he/she has made a decision that favors one option despite of reasons that support another alternative. Therefore, because of its ability to create cognitive dissonance, insufficient justification promotes attitude change and persuasion. On the contrary, effort-justification is where individuals work hard to accomplish a specific goal. The effort-justification component largely contributes to the current assumptions and beliefs by an individual. Consequently, effort-justification can contribute to attitude change when individuals are motivated to accomplish a particular goal.
The motivation of Singaporeans to marriage and procreation in attempts to enhance the country's fertility rate by the government requires attitude change and persuasion. The Singaporean government has adopted measures that will primarily contribute to behavior change rather than attitude change. The best possible way for enhancing Singapore's fertility rate is for the government to adopt measures that are based on the theory of cognitive dissonance.
"Cognitive Dissonance." (n.d.). Behavioralfinance.net. Retrieved March 29, 2012, from http://cognitive-dissonance.behaviouralfinance.net/
James, J. & Gutkind, E. (1985). Attitude Change Revisited: Cognitive Dissonance Theory and Development Policy. World Development, 13(10), 1139-1149. Retrieved from http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=51931
Moss, S. (2008, October 18). Psychological Reactance Theory. Retrieved March 29, 2012, from http://www.psych-it.com.au/Psychlopedia/article.asp?id=65
Ramesh, S. (2011, January 18). MM Lee Weighs in on Singapore's Record-low Fertility Rate.
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