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1) There are many companies who package and sell consumer information – data brokers. Research and find ONE company and find what information you can about what information they collect and sell about consumers (note, do not focus on Cambridge Analytica, since that is discussed in articles). Provide some brief details about what they do (about 1 paragraph). NOTE: include link to the company below (and any articles you found relating to that company). 2) Explain why the company’s practices are or are not problematic, and list specific reasons why you find them problematic (or not). USE 2 course materials (at least one from this week, and you can use others from any of the past weeks) to justify your argument.Write from 300-400 words ONLY.for the second question, use these articles as a reference…Attached is also an article that you could use

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. Cognitive Dissonance
It is the
that the
subject of a new theOlY based on experiments ho wing
grass is usually not greener on the other side of the
fence and that grapes are sourest when they are in easy reach
by Lcon Festinger
here is an experiment in psychol­
ogy that you can perform easily
. in your own home if you have a
child three or four years old. Buy two
toys that you are fairly sure will be
equally attractive to the child. Show
them both to him and say: “Here are
two nice toys. This one is for you to
keep. The other I must give back to the
store.” You then hand the child the toy
that is his to keep and ask: “Which of
the two toys do you like better?” Studies
have shown that in such a situation most
children will tell you they prefer the
toy they are to keep.
This response of children seems to
conflict with the old saying that the grass
is always greener on the other side of
the fence. Do adults respond in the same
way under similar circumstances or does
the adage indeed become true as we
grow older? The question is of consider­
able interest because the adult world
is filled with choices and alternative
courses of action that are often about
equally attractive. When they make a
choice of a college or a car or a spouse
or a home or a political candidate, do
most people remain satisfied with their
choice or do they tend to wish they had
made a different one? Naturally any
choice may turn out to be a bad one on
the basis of some objective measure­
ment, but the question is: Does some
psychological process come into play
immediately after the making of a choice
that colors one’s attitude, either favor­
ably or unfavorably, toward the deci­
To illuminate this question there is an­
other experiment one can do at home,
this time using an adult as a subject
rather than a child. Buy two presents for
your wife, again choosing things you
are reasonably sure she will find about
equally attractive. Find some plausible
excuse for having both of them in your
possession, show them to your wife and
ask her to tell you how attractive each
one is to her. After you have obtained a
good measurement of attractiveness, tell
her that she can have one of them, which­
ever she chooses. The other you will re­
turn to the store. After she has made her
choice, ask her once more to evaluate
the attractiveness of each of them. If you
compare the evaluations of attractive­
ness before and after the choice, you will
probably find that the chosen present
has increased in attractiveness and the
rejected one decreased.
Such behavior can be explained by a
new theory concerning “cognitive dis­
sonance.” This theory centers around
the idea that if a person knows various
things that are not psychologically con­
sistent with one another, he will, in a
variety of ways, try to make them more
consistent. Two items of information
that psychologically do not fit together
are said to be in a dissonant relation to
each other. The items of information
may be about behavior, feelings, opin­
ions, things in the environment and so
on. The word “cognitive” simply em­
phasizes that the theory deals with rela­
tions among items of information.
Such items can of course be changed.
A person can change his opinion; he
can change his behavior, thereby chang­
ing the information he has about it; he
can even distort his perception and his
information about the world around him.
Changes in items of information that pro­
duce or restore consistency are referred
to as dissonance-reducing changes.
Cognitive dissonance is a motivating
state of affairs. Just as hunger impels a
person to eat, so does dissonance impel a
person to change his opinions or his be­
havior. The world, however, is much
The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence
more ctfectively arranged for hunger
reduction than it is for dissonance reduc­
tion. It is almost always possible to find
something to eat. It is not always easy to
reduce dissonance. Sometimes it mav be
very difficult or even impossible to
change behavior or opinions that are
involved in dissonant relations. Conse­
quently there are circumstances in which
appreciable dissonance may persist for
long periods.
T as a motIvatmg state, It IS. necessary
o understand cognitive dissonance
COII>equences of I/Ulking ” decision between two reasonably attractive alternatives
! I
DISSONANCE REDUCTION is a psychological phenomenon found to occur after a person
has made a choice between two approximately equal alternatives. The effect of the phe.
nomenon is to enhance the attractiveness of the chosen object or chosen course of action.
The chart summarizes the results of an experiment in which high school girls rated the
attractiveness of
12 “hit” records before and after choosing one of them as a gift. Substan·
tial dissonance reduction occurred under only one of three experimental conditions de·
scribed in the text. Under two other conditions no systematic reduction was observed.
to have a clearer conception of the con­
ditions that produce it. The simplest
definition of dissonance can, perhaps,
be given in terms of a person’s expecta­
tions. In the course of our lives we have
all accumulated a large number of ex­
pectations about what things go together
and what things do not. When such an
expectation is not fulfilled, dissonance
For example, a person standing un­
protected in the rain would expect to get
wet. If he found himself in the rain and
he was not getting wet, there would exist
dissonance between these two pieces
of information. This unlikely example is
one where the expectations of different
people would all be uniform. There are
obviously many instances where dif­
ferent people would not share the same
expectations. Someone who is very self­
confident might expect to succeed at
whatever he tried, whereas someone
who had a low opinion of himself might
normally expect to fail. Under these cir­
cumstances what would produce disso­
nance for one person might produce
consonance for another. In experimental
investigations, of course, an effort is
made to provide situations in which ex­
pectations are rather uniform.
Perhaps the best way to explain the
theory of cognitive dissonance is to show
its application to specific situations. The
rest of this article, therefore, will be de­
voted to a discussion of three examples
of cognitive dissonance. I shall discuss
the effects of making a decision, of lying
and of temptation. These three exam­
ples by no means cover all the situations
in which dissonance can be created. In­
deed, it seldom happens that everything
a person knows about an action he has
taken is perfectly consistent with his
having taken it. The three examples,
however, may serve to illustrate the
range of situations in which dissonance
can be expected to occur. They will also
serve to show the kinds of dissonance­
reduction effects that are obtained un­
der a special circumstance: when dis­
sonance involves the person’s behavior
and the action in question is difficult to
Let us consider first the consequences
of making a decision. Imagine the situ­
ation of a person who has carefully
weighed two reasonably attractive al­
ternatives and then chosen one of them­
a decision that, for our purposes, can
be regarded as irrevocable. All the in­
formation this person has concerning
the attractive features of the rejected al­
ternative (and the possible unattractive
features of the chosen alternative) are
now inconsistent, or dissonant, with the
knowledge that he has made the given
choice. It is true that the person also
knows many things that are consistent
or consonant with the choice he has
made, which is to say all the attractive
features of the chosen alternative and
unattractive features of the rejected one.
Nevertheless, some dissonance exists and
after the decision the individual will try
to reduce the dissonance.
There are two major ways in which
the individual can reduce dissonance in
this situation. He can persuade himself
that the attractive features of the re­
jected 7
CONSEQUENCES OF LYING are found to vary, depending on whether the justHica(on
for the lie is large or small. In this experiment students were persuaded to tell others that
$1 for their co·
$20. The low.paid students, having least justification for lying,
a boring experience was really fun. Those in one group were paid only
operation; in a second group,
experienced most dissonance and reduced it by coming to regard the experience favorably.
:I I I
, .
iI I l
GRADED CHANGE OF OPINION was produced by paying subjects various sums for
writing essays advocating opinions contrary to their beliefs. When examined later, students
paid the least had changed their opinion the most to agree with what they had written. Only
the highest paid group held to their original opinion more strongly than did a control group.
ow can the dissonance be reduced?
One method is obvious. The indi­
vidual can remove the dissonance by re­
tracting his public statement. But let us
consider only those instances in which
the public statement, once made, cannot
be changed or withdrawn; in other
words, in which the behavior is irrevo­
cable. Under such circumstances the
major avenue for reduction of the dis­
sonance is change of private opinion.
That is, if the private opinion were
changed so that it agreed with what was
publicly stated, obviously the dissonance
would be gone. The theory thus leads us
to expect that after having made an irrev­
ocable public statement at variance with
his private belief, a person will tend to
change his private belief to bring it into
line with his public statement. Further­
more, the degree to which he changes
his private belief will depend on the
amount of justification or the amount of
pressure for making the public statement
initially. The less the original justifica­
tion or pressure, the greater the dis­
sonance and the more the person’s pri­
vate belief can be expected to change.
An experiment recently conducted at
Stanford University by James M. Carl­
smith and me illustrates the nature of
this effect. In the experiment, college
students were induced to make a state­
ment at variance with their own belief.
It was done by using students who had
volunteered to pa �’ ticipate in an experi

ment to measure , motor performance. ,
The purported experiment lasted an
hour and was a boring and fatiguing
session. At the end of the hour the ex­
perimenter thanked the subject for his
participation, indicating that the experi­
ment was over. The real purpose of the
hour-long session, however, was to pro­
vide each subject with an identical ex­
perience about which he would have an
unfavorable opinion.
At the end of the fatiguing hour the
experimenter enlisted the subject’s aid
in preparing the next person for the ex­
periment. The subject was led to believe
that, for experimental purposes, the next
person was supposed to be given the im­
pression that the hour’s session was go­
ing to be very interesting and lots of fun.
The subject was persuaded to help in
this deception by telling the next sub­
ject, who was waiting in an adjoining
room, that he himself had just finished
the hour and that it had indeed been very
interesting and lots of fun. The first sub­
ject was then interviewed by someone
else to determine his actual private opin­
ion of the experiment.
Two experimental conditions were
run that differed only in the amount of
pressure, or justification given the sub­
ject for stating a public opinion at vari­
ance with his private belief. All subjects,
of course, had the justification of helping
to conduct a scientific experiment. In
addition to this, half of the subjects were
paid $1 for their help-a relatively small
amount of money; the other subjects
were paid $20-a rather large sum for
the work involved. From the theory we
would expect that the subjects who were
paid only $1, having less justification for
their action, would have more disso­
nance and would change their private
beliefs more in order to reduce the dis­
sonance. In other words, we would ex­
pect the greatest change in private opin­
ion among the subjects given the least
tangible incentive for changing.
The upper illustration on the opposite
page shows the results of the experiment.
The broken line in the chart shows the
results for a control group of subjects.
These subjects participated in the hour­
long session and then were asked to give
their private opinion of it. Their gen­
erally unfavorable views are to be ex­
pected when no dissonance is induced
between private belief and public state­
ment. It is clear from the chart that intro­
ducing such dissonance produced a
change of opinion so that the subjects
who were asked to take part in a decep­
tion finally came to think better of the
session than did the control subjects. It
,N] AA//JO � ()
M,ttNI/OIl.. 0
The effect of rewards on lying
is also clear that only in the condition
where they were paid a dollar is this
opinion change appreciable. When they
were paid a lot of money, the justifica­
tion for misrepresenting private belief is
high and there is correspondingly less
change of opinion to reduce dissonance.
Another way to summarize the result
is to say that those who are highly re­
warded for doing something that in­
volves dissonance change their opinion
less in the direction of agreeing with
what they did than those who are given
very little reward. This result may seem
surprising, since we are used to think­
ing that reward is effective in creating
change. It must be remembered, how­
ever, that the critical factor here is that
the reward is being used to induce a
behavior that is dissonant with private
To show that this result is valid and
not just a function of the particular
situation or the particular sums of money
used for reward, Arthur R. Cohen of
New York University conducted a simi­
lar experiment in a different context.
Cohen paid subjects to write essays
advocating an opinion contrary to what
they really believed. Subjects were paid
either $10, $5, $1 or 50 cents to do this.
To measure the extent to which disso­
nance was reduced by their changing
their opinion, each subject was then
given a questionnaire, which he left un­
signed, to determine his private opinion
on the issue. The extent to which the
subjects reduced dissonance by chang­
ing their opinion to agree with what they
wrote in the essay is shown in the lower
illustration on the opposite page. Once
again it is c …
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