When Prophecy Fails

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Pinter & Martin, 2008 - Всего страниц: 257
In 1954 Leon Festinger, a brilliant young experimental social psychologist in the process of inventing a new theory of human behavior - the theory of cognitive dissonance - and two of his colleagues, Henry Riecken and Stanley Schachter, 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, as Festinger predicted, readjust their reality to make sense of the new circumstances? Not only is When Prophecy Fails of great historical importance as the first test of a powerful theory, but it is also a surprisingly touching account of what happens to ordinary people under extraordinary circumstances. "Reconnecting with this book after fifty years has given me a renewed appreciation for the genius and audacity of Leon Festinger and his colleagues. I prophesy that it will do the same for you." Elliot Aronson, author of The Social Animal and Mistakes were made (but not by me) in his foreword "In a story woven together from the perspectives of the different investigators, we get to see the hilariously desperate attempts of the group members to validate their sci-fi belief system, and the bizarre home life of the lady whose "channelled" messages from space are the focus of the group. The behaviour of the investigators as they try to cover their real activities draws suspicion, and the medium interprets this as a sign that they are themselves alien visitors. As the disappointing non-end-of-the-world arrives, the investigators find themselves irreversibly involved in the group they are supposed to be objectively studying. This book is why I gave up reading fiction. No novel is as exciting or as revealing of the human condition as a true story like this --

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Foreword by the authors
1
Teachings and prophecies from outer space
35
Spreading the word on earth
60
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