Cognitive Dissonance Theory an overview

Encountering these types of advertisements frequently can lead to stress if you do take the messages at face value. It explains a lot of common human tendencies, such as rationalization, justification, and why we shift our beliefs over time. And not dealing with the dissonance can affect your mental health and well-being. Recognizing the contradiction can be uncomfortable, and sometimes even anxiety-inducing, depending on how severe the contradiction is or how significant those contradicted thoughts or values are to you. The discomfort or tension you experience as a result of that contradiction is called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a theory proposed by Leon Festinger in the 1950s.

cognitive dissonance theory

You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. But you also enjoy eating meat, though you know some animals are kept in inhumane conditions before being used for meat.

What is Cognitive Dissonance?

 The Cognitive dissonance theory states that when two cognitions become dissonant Cognitive dissonance happens. 3. Dissonance occurs when a person perceives a logical inconsistency in their beliefs, when one idea implies the opposite of another.

cognitive dissonance theory

You start going to bed earlier and get up with enough time to work out. It’s hard at first, but instead of feeling guilty when you see the gym keychain, you feel proud of yourself. Dissonance is an unavoidable consequence of making a decision, but embracing it could lead to better choices. And it can be a good thing if you recognize the dissonance, take the time to really think through your options, and make better decisions. That will result in less dissonance, and there will be less of a need to rationalize later.

How do you avoid cognitive dissonance?

However, it was found that smokers had more distorted thinking about smoking and attempted to rationalize their smoking behavior compared to non-smokers and ex-smokers. A friend gives her a choice to help hand over a few grams of an illegal drug to an anonymous person and that would pay more than she needs. But this transaction goes completely against the standards that Bella has set for herself. Change the current cognition to defend the attitude-discrepant behavior. Make a poster, chart, or some other type of graphic organizer that depicts the three resolutions to cognitive dissonance. Create a poster, chart, or some other type of graphic organizer that illustrates the three stages of cognitive dissonance.

What does cognitive dissonance theory propose?

According to the cognitive dissonance theory, the very best way to get people to change their attitudes is to first get them to change their behavior. This contradiction creates cognitive dissonance, an unpleasant state of physiological arousal, which we are highly motivated to avoid.

Festinger thought that people were driven to promote the harmony and coherence of their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Thus, when people develop a sense that there has been a breakdown in their mental harmony, they will attempt to end their cognitive dissonance. Since persuasion is the inherent goal of communication, it’s easy to see why cognitive dissonance plays such a large role in the field. Communicators who want to succeed in stirring others to action could benefit from understanding how cognitive dissonance affects people. The influential techniques gleaned from a study of the theory aren’t just used by advertisers and salespeople, but also by therapists, educators and environmentalists. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people are averse to inconsistencies within their own minds.

Final Thoughts on Cognitive Dissonance

Please take a few moments to think about what you’d do but before we discuss it further, let’s cover some background. 20 Most Popular Theories of Motivation in Psychology provides an introductory overview of motivation theories. Patients are likely to feel uncomfortable when dissonant thoughts cognitive dissonance theory are discussed, which can impede their ability to think constructively. Sometimes the dissonant information appears to be important at first sight but can be diminished upon deeper reflection. They might decide to deny the evidence showing a link between sun exposure and skin cancer.

What is cognitive dissonance theory?

Cognitive dissonance is when our thoughts and behaviors don’t align (which we don’t like) so we act in ways to alleviate this discomfort.

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