Sober livingWhat Is Cognitive Dissonance? Definition and Examples

7th September 2020by admin0

Content Cognitive Dissonance Cognitive Dissonance in Politics Alternative paradigms Magnitude of dissonance Cognitive Dissonance Theory – Real Life Examples Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and...

Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance. Cognitive dissonance, coined by Leon Festinger in the 1950s, describes the discomfort people feel when two cognitions, or a cognition and a behavior, contradict each other. To reduce that dissonance, the smoker must either quit—or justify smoking (“It keeps me thin, and being overweight is a health risk too, you know”). At its core, Festinger’s theory is about how people strive to make sense out of contradictory ideas and lead lives that are, at least in their own minds, consistent and meaningful. 6. Proposed cognitive dissonance theory, which states that a powerful motive to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational and sometimes adaptive behavior.

  • Psychologist Leon Festinger published the book A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance in 1957.
  • The degree of dissonance experienced can depend on a few different factors.
  • Change something to resolve the dissonance – You’re feeling really bad that you lied, so you need to change something to feel less dissonance.
  • The high-choice condition asked students to write in favor of tuition increase as if it were their completely voluntary choice.

Though cognitive dissonance theory was controversial at first, it is now one of the most analyzed and accepted theories in both psychology and communication. Festinger’s original theory did not seek to explain how dissonance works. It proposes that inconsistencies in a person’s cognition cause mental stress, because psychological inconsistency interferes with the person’s functioning in the real world. If the person changes the current attitude, after the dissonance occurs, they are then obligated to commit to that course of behavior. 5. cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony .

Cognitive Dissonance

Until then, psychologists had thought people’s actions resulted from their core values and beliefs in a unidirectional and somewhat rigid manner. Hence, the consensus was that people’s behaviors were determined by and matched their values and beliefs. Festinger challenged this notion when he proposed that people may experience a mismatch between their beliefs and behaviors. Moreover, the discomfort caused by this mismatch could be lessened by rationalizing the behavior or adjusting beliefs to match the behavior . The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes.

Cognitive Dissonance in Russia – Inkstick – Inkstick

Cognitive Dissonance in Russia – Inkstick.

Posted: Mon, 27 Jun 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source]

In 1964, Festinger moved from social psychology to research on visual perception. Although a seemingly radical departure, it was in fact a continuation of a theme. Festinger’s work on visual perception concerned how people reconcile inconsistencies between visual perception and eye movements to see coherent images. His social psychological research concerned how people resolve conflict , ambiguity , and inconsistency —all manifestations of pressures for uniformity. Researchers wanted to investigate whether cognitive dissonance can be beneficial and can lead to positive changes in the community.

Cognitive Dissonance in Politics

Although this is a very morbid campaign, the use of cognitive dissonance is evident and the organization got the change in behavior and attitude that they wanted to. In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the perception of contradictory information, and the mental toll of it. Relevant items of information include a person’s actions, feelings, ideas, beliefs, values, and things in the environment. Cognitive dissonance is typically experienced as psychological stress when persons participate in an action that goes against one or more of those things. According to this theory, when two actions or ideas are not psychologically consistent with each other, people do all in their power to change them until they become consistent. The discomfort is triggered by the person’s belief clashing with new information perceived, wherein the individual tries to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort. Cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort when there is tension between one’s beliefs, attitudes, values, and one’s actions.

  • The result is that our minds support whatever decision we made to make us feel satisfied that it was the right one.
  • Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort that results from an inner conflict, leading to an alteration of one of the cognitive processes or behaviors to reduce the discomfort.
  • Two groups of participants were asked to engage in a series of extremely boring tasks such as turning pegs in a board of holes.
  • It requires energy and effort to sit with those seemingly opposite things that all seem true.
  • Change the current cognition to defend the attitude-discrepant behavior.
  • An extreme example of the negative consequences of cognitive dissonance is when we justify our partner’s harmful behavior toward us and get stuck in a toxic relationship.

If you realize you are making excuses for a specific action or justifying destructive behaviors, you might be best served by stopping. Sometimes it is hard to accept it when we make mistakes or deal with other people’s bad behaviors. However, accepting the cold hard truth can be liberating and positively impact your long-term happiness. If you’re making excuses for someone else’s behavior, you might be happier in the long run after you stop being their apologist. If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others through CBT, this collection contains 17 validated positive CBT tools for practitioners. Use them to help others overcome unhelpful thoughts and feelings and develop more positive behaviors. This episode of the podcast Behavioral Grooves features an interview with Dr. Kathleen Vohs on cognitive dissonance theory.

Alternative paradigms

If a contradiction occurs between how a person feels and how a person acts, one’s perceptions and emotions align to alleviate stress. The Ben Franklin effect refers to that statesman’s observation that the act of performing a favor for a rival leads to increased positive feelings toward that individual. It is also possible that one’s emotions be altered to minimize the regret of irrevocable choices. At a hippodrome, bettors had more confidence in their horses after the betting than before. Finally, many of the studies supporting the theory of cognitive dissonance have low ecological validity. For example, turning pegs (as in Festinger’s experiment) is an artificial task that doesn’t happen in everyday life.

When such desirable outcomes seem possible but uncertain, the extent of support for the person’s current attitude may seem insufficient or tenuous. In these cases, message recipients might seek information that would reassure them and enhance their perceptions that the favorable outcomes may yet come to fruition. The arrows indicate the expected belief strength of the information group before tasting the coffee. Viewed survey response as a voluntary action within a context of reciprocal social obligations, and showed how survey procedures can build a positive social exchange with prospective survey participants. Prevention programs based on cognitive dissonance and the use of the Internet have been widely and successfully implemented among female college models, but their use has not yet filtered down to the school setting. Note that social comparison mechanisms and consistency reduction mechanisms are both self-enhancement strategies, yet they seem to have little in common. Threat from dissonance rarely has anything to do with the performance of another, i.e., social comparison.

Magnitude of dissonance

Unfortunately, he has a busy schedule and has been eating a lot of fast food or frozen dinners lately. John tells himself that many other people eat fast food daily but remain healthy. Slowly, he starts to believe that wholesome foods are overrated and one can stay healthy as long as one takes supplements to make up for missing nutrients in their diet. Cixin is worried about climate change and environmental degradation. He justifies his new ride by stating that he needs to carry equipment from one site to another once in a while, and he can’t do that with a smaller and less-powerful vehicle. Assume I gave you an incredibly boring task, and after you finished it, I asked you to tell others about how fun the activity was. Would you be more likely to do it if I gave you a dollar or twenty dollars?

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