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Cognitive Dissonance Examples: 5 Ways It Pops Up In Everyday Life

This rapid advance of AI technology, which imposes a new cognitive velocity, will continue to tear into the very fabric of society. We are likely to see a tectonic shift in our collective existential outlook. Institutions, ethics, and perhaps even human consciousness may have to adapt rapidly to avoid obsolescence.

  • And to reduce their mental discomfort they will avoid small spaces like elevators which confirms the apparent validity of their fearful attitude which keeps them clinging to the irrational fear.
  • The first step may be to consider self-knowledge, truthfulness, and other building blocks on the road to personal growth.
  • For example, a person who tends to binge drink will justify their behavior by saying it is just a couple drink when in reality it is an excessive amount in a short period of time.
  • Research shows that justifications give people the impression that they made a careful decision.
  • Festinger’s original theory did not seek to explain how dissonance works.

The term cognitive dissonance was first coined in 1957 by Psychologist Leon Festinger. When one’s beliefs become inconsistent or conflicting, this leads to disharmony and conflict, which is what most people try to avoid. People experience cognitive dissonance for many reasons, but a common trigger is work. “Maybe you’re at a company with a work culture or attitudes that are in opposition or conflict to what you believe,” according to Dr. Scott. School is another catalyst for tension as people are acclimating to a new environment, meeting others and learning new information.

Why Cognitive Dissonance is So Traumatic for Survivors of Pathological Love Relationships

In his book A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, Festinger proposed that two ideas can be consonant or dissonant. Consonant ideas logically flow from one another, while dissonant ideas oppose one another. Importantly, the word “follow” in the phrase not only literally means move in the same direction as, but also lag behind a bit.

Among them are how highly a particular belief is valued and the degree to which the beliefs are inconsistent. Cognitive dissonance can be caused by feeling forced to do something, learning new information, or when faced with a decision between two similar choices. Cognitive dissonance is a well-researched psychological phenomenon. It occurs in all of us frequently, not just when planning to diet and justifying a doughnut with a delayed diet start. This can be a difficult and uncomfortable process and involves getting additional information.

Self-perception theory

Throwing trash outside even when knowing this act is against the law, wrong, and could harm animals and the planet is cognitive dissonance, especially if the person feels bad after littering but continues to do so. For someone with addiction issues, when dissonance comes into play, it greatly compromises their ability to make rational decisions. One could argue that drinking and taking drugs is ultimately someone’s choice. Although, when something they once believed turns out too good to be true, it conflicts with their pre-existing beliefs about their decision-making abilities. In today’s world, people do things or have beliefs and opinions that sometimes leave us questioning humanity.

  • You can do all the coping and meditation and self-care you can handle, but if you don’t figure out cognitive dissonance, you’re not going to feel good.
  • Where cognitions are consistent with each other, such as “I like eating salads” and “vegetables are healthy” these can be referred to as ‘consonant’.
  • 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.
  • If they did, that indicated they had a sense of guilt that they understood enough to need to cover it up.
  • This episode of the podcast Behavioral Grooves features an interview with Dr. Kathleen Vohs on cognitive dissonance theory.
  • When friends and family try to make a person with a substance use disorder (SUD) see that they need help, it is common for someone with an addiction to not be deliberately willful.

According to Festinger, there are a few ways that a person might resolve this dissonance. Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the “Everything Psychology Book.” Patients are likely to feel uncomfortable when cognitive dissonance treatment dissonant thoughts are discussed, which can impede their ability to think constructively. If patients are provided with the opportunity to co-design aspects of their therapy, they may be more likely to act in line with their choices by reaching their therapeutic goals.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Cognitive Dissonance?

Heider’s Balance Theory, on the other hand, emphasizes the desire for balanced relations among triads of entities (like people and attitudes), with imbalances prompting changes in attitudes to restore balance. Both theories address cognitive consistency, but in different contexts. There is also some ambiguity (i.e., vagueness) about the term “dissonance” itself. Is it a perception (as “cognitive” suggests), a feeling, or a feeling about a perception? Aronson’s Revision of the idea of dissonance as an inconsistency between a person’s self-concept and a cognition about their behavior makes it seem likely that dissonance is really nothing more than guilt. The theory of cognitive dissonance has been widely researched in a number of situations to develop the basic idea in more detail, and various factors have been identified which may be important in attitude change.

cognitive dissonance treatment

It has the advantage of being testable by scientific means (i.e., experiments). In other words, he could tell himself that a short life filled with smoking and sensual pleasures is better than a long life devoid of such joys. In this way, he would be decreasing the importance of dissonant cognition (smoking is bad for one’s health). Being paid only $1 is not sufficient incentive for lying and so those who were paid $1 experienced dissonance. They could only overcome that dissonance by coming to believe that the tasks really were interesting and enjoyable. Being paid $20 provides a reason for turning pegs, and there is, therefore, no dissonance.

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Many people seem able to cope with considerable dissonance and not experience the tensions the theory predicts. There has been a great deal of research into cognitive dissonance, providing some interesting and sometimes unexpected findings. However, new information such as “research has not proved definitely that smoking causes lung cancer” may reduce the dissonance. For example, thinking smoking causes lung cancer will cause dissonance if a person smokes.

cognitive dissonance treatment

Resolving cognitive dissonance is essential to living a life of purpose, meaning, joy, and growth. You can do all the coping and meditation and self-care you can handle, but if you don’t figure out cognitive dissonance, you’re not going to feel good. There is no substitute for integrity when it comes to peace of mind. Cognitive dissonance is when we have a gap between what we believe is right and what we are doing. It is not possible to observe dissonance, as it is something a person feels internally. As such, there is no set of external signs that can reliably indicate a person is experiencing cognitive dissonance.

Reducing the Importance of the Conflicting Belief

Or you may get caught up in trying to rationalize the dissonance to the point of stressing yourself out. This incompatibility (dissonance) can happen when you do something that goes against one of your values. Or maybe you learn a new piece of information that disagrees with a long-standing belief or opinion. If a voluntary experience that has cost a lot of effort turns out badly, the dissonance is reduced by redefining the experience as interesting.

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. Sometimes learning new information can lead to feelings of cognitive dissonance. For example, if you engage in a behavior that you later learn is harmful, it can lead to feelings of discomfort.