Control of Pain Motivation by Cognitive Dissonance

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Science  14 Jan 1966:
Vol. 151, Issue 3707, pp. 217-219
DOI: 10.1126/science.151.3707.217


Responses by humans to painful electric shocks are significantly modified at subjective, behavioral, and physiological levels by verbal manipulations of degree of choice and justification for further exposure to the aversive stimuli. Pain perception, learning, and galvanic skin resistance are altered under these conditions of "cognitive dissonance," as they are by reductions in voltage intensity.