When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World

A Social and Psychological Study of A Modern Group that Predicted the Destriction of the World (Harper torchbooks)

Paperback, 253 pages

English language

Published Dec. 13, 1967 by Harper & Row.

ISBN:
9780061311321

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In 1954 Leon Festinger, a brilliant young experimental social psychologist in the process of outlining a new theory of human behavior - the theory of cognitive dissonance - and his colleagues infiltrated a cult who believed the end of the world was only months away. How would these people feel when their prophecy remained unfulfilled? Would they admit the error of their prediction, or would they readjust their reality to make sense of the new circumstances?

"We've all experienced the futility of trying to change a strong conviction, especially if the convinced person has some investment in his belief. We're familiar with the variety of ingenious defenses with which people protect their convictions, managing to keep them unscathed thru the most devastating attacks. But human resourcefulness goes beyond simply protecting a belief. Suppose an individual believes something with a whole heart; suppose further a commitment to this belief, suppose irrevocable …

10 editions

Subjects

  • Prophecies.

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