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Meaning Maintenance Model

Definition

People expect that certain experiences will be associated with one another. For example, if a person goes out to dinner, he or she expects the waiter to bring what he or she ordered. If a person sees a crow, he or she expects it to be black. People expect that good people will be rewarded in life, bad people will be punished, and that their friends will be kind to them. Sometimes, however, these expectations are violated by unusual experiences. Sometimes the waiter brings the wrong breakfast, and sometimes friends are cruel. Sometimes tragedies befall nice people, villains prosper, or an albino crow lands on a neighbor's roof.

The meaning maintenance model (MMM) proposes that whenever these expected associations are violated by unexpected experiences, it goes ...

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