• Nadja Bak Christensen
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
Psychological theories of consistency, has come to represent a massive field within social psychology, with the common denominator that the significance of intrapsychic and/or interpersonal consistency is emphasized as a basic and fundamental human motivation.
It can be argued, that only few phenomena examined by psychologists has created as much debate and as many research results pointing in different directions, as it is the case for the consistency-tradition. Leon Festingers theory of cognitive dissonance can in many ways be placed as the starting point of this development, as the theory probably has stimulated more research than all other consistency approaches combined. At the same time the field is fragmented: a wide range of theories and lines of research have either revised or gone against the original statement, ranging from narrowing the scope of consistency to merely self-related phenomena - to questioning the significance and/or the centrality of intrapsychic consistency and placing interpersonal consistency within frameworks equating it more with conformity-like processes.
This is the ground of which the first part of this dissertation is build, as it is, and has been for several years, a field that has inspired and marveled me: How can a psychological phenomenon, so vastly documented and described as a fundamental part of human psychological function and dysfunction, still not have resulted in the establishment of a more basic united understanding concerning its central questions? - Such as the fundamental purpose of the consistency-system and its dynamics of functioning. These questions and related ones will therefore be sought answered.
To do this solely, on the grounds of an empirical field with no clear-cut indications of right and wrong, has before been proven unfruitful. Therefore I do not only take an eclectic stance throughout the dissertation, as it is my believe that bringing together apparently opposing irreconcilable views can have an elucidating effect - In the second part of the dissertation, I also include further relevant theoretical views from the fields of social psychology and evolutionary social psychology, which, respectively, emphasizes the understanding of the conditions for human social life and its concomitant implications for the human psyche - and the understanding of the evolved foundation for such conditions and implications. The goal is to reach a more plausible, comprehensive, fundamental and united understanding of basic questions concerning consistency, than has been achieved up until now – both by my own doing, and arguable also by others’, as these kinds of understandings seem largely absent in the literature.
Publication date30 May 2018
Number of pages79
ID: 280110405