Cognitive dissonance

From NYTimes: In 1956, Jack Brehm, a Yale student of Leon Festinger, carted some of his own wedding gifts into the lab (it was a low-budget experiment) and asked people to rate the desirability of things like an electric sandwich press, a desk lamp, a stopwatch and a transistor radio.

Then they were given a choice between two items they considered equally attractive, and told they could take one home. After making a choice (but before having it snatched away), they were asked to rate all the items again.

Suddenly they had a new perspective. If they had chosen the electric sandwich press over the toaster, they raised its rating and downgraded the toaster. They convinced themselves they had made by far the right choice.

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