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Balance Theory

Definition

Balance theory describes the structure of people's opinions about other individuals and objects as well as the perceived relation between them. The central notion of balance theory is that certain structures between individuals and objects are balanced, whereas other structures are imbalanced, and that balanced structures are generally preferred over imbalanced structures. Specifically, balance theory claims that imbalanced structures are associated with an uncomfortable feeling of negative affect, and that this negative feeling leads people to strive for balanced structures and to avoid imbalanced structures. An example for a balanced structure is when your best friend also likes your favorite rock band; an example for an imbalanced structure is when your best friend dislikes your favorite rock band. According to balance theory, the first case ...

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