Cognitive Dissonance: Theory, Examples & How to Reduce It

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction PMC
May 28, 2021
Прогноз цены на Pundi XNPXS до $0 00027 к 2025 на 2023 2030 годы
November 3, 2021

As established, dissonance is a lack of agreement between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Despite the physical and psychological consequences of drinking and taking drugs, individuals who have this disease, view their addictive behaviors differently than those who don’t. This is not to say that approaches involving identifying, challenging, and replacing faulty or irrational beliefs are not helpful. Rather, without behavioral change, the efficacy of most cognitively-based methods will be greatly limited. Because one can act oneself into feeling better much more effectively than one can think oneself into feeling better.

  • That is, changing their cognition that smoking is dangerous—through mental gymnastics like denial—or changing their behavior so that it’s consonant with the rational belief that smoking is hazardous would both reduce cognitive dissonance.
  • “All of us, and I mean all of us, have something we have dissonant beliefs and behaviors about,” says Alauna Curry, MD, a trauma psychiatrist based in Houston.
  • This might involve going along with something due to peer pressure or doing something at work to avoid getting fired.
  • Koller and Salzberger (2007) developed an eight-item consumer behavior scale.
  • However, Sheppes argues further that when individuals believe that they will encounter certain emotional stimuli again (i.e., stimuli related to long-term goals), they will rather reappraise the stimuli than use distraction.
  • However, the research shows that cognitive dissonance can have positive effects.

Given this common practice, studies have rarely pre-measured people’s initial attitudes, and/or the perceived importance of that attitude (which is supposed to decrease if one trivializes) (i.e., in a within-subjects design). However, without pre-measures it is impossible to know whether individuals have moved up or down an attitude scale or attitude-importance scale (in relation to their initial position) during the experiment. Additionally, past researchers have seldom measured people’s self-reported emotional reactions to the dissonant situation. Those few who have done so, have asked individuals to state what they feel “at the moment,” and not what they feel in relation to the dissonant situation (i.e., “to what extent did you experience these emotions while writing the essay?”). The former formulation could give rise to substantial measurement error, since individuals might report current mood or general emotionality rather than emotions related to the situation (see Cancino-Montecinos et al., 2018 for an empirical study on this point).

What is cognitive dissonance and how do you reduce it?

But sometimes, we have feelings of dissonance and we don’t understand — or can’t trace — where they came from. In cases like these or for more complex changes, you’ll benefit from additional accountability and support. However, the research shows that cognitive dissonance can have positive effects. When we process the dissonance and understand why it’s happening, we can make changes that bring us into alignment. As we mentioned earlier, many people know that smoking is harmful to their health — yet they continue to do it. In the 1950s laboratory experiments on cognitive dissonance, participants had to complete a series of boring tasks.

  • Being paid only $1 is not sufficient incentive for lying and so those who were paid $1 experienced dissonance.
  • This motivation can drive you to send your resume out like wildfire, reach out to old contacts for leads, or take a leap of faith and switch careers.
  • We all face cognitive dissonance at times since we’re always learning new things that might demand change in our behavior or belief system.
  • Neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow argues that collective intelligence is evolving to trump individual intelligence.

You may be pressured into allowing those actions to continue or participate in those actions yourself — and that can leave you with some significant discomfort, so you end up questioning exactly how you should feel about the situation. Another way to cope with cognitive dissonance is to slow down when making decisions. Taking the time to explore the pros and cons before making a decision can help you feel more comfortable with your choices and minimize some of the cognitive dissonance you may experience. Likewise, you also can challenge the behaviors that don’t align with your beliefs and think of alternative ways of doing things that would be more in line with with you believe. Cognitive dissonance is a mental conflict or discomfort that occurs when your behaviors and your beliefs do not align. You can experience cognitive dissonance when what you decide to do contradicts your values, morals, or belief system.

The Original Dissonance Theory and Related Research

Cognitive dissonance is a little different than its evil twin, hypocrisy. But because we want the benefits of presenting ourselves a certain way, we don’t mind the inconsistency in our behavior. Jocelyn Solis-Moreira is a New York-based science journalist whose work has appeared in Health, Live Science, and Discover Magazine, among other publications.

Or maybe you learn a new piece of information that disagrees with a long-standing belief or opinion. Cognitive dissonance happens when you hold two conflicting thoughts in your mind at the same time — like loving both hamburgers and cows. In times of rapid progress, the best thinkers are often slow, circumspect, and reflective.

Standard Roofing