Still, there are several telltale signs of cognitive dissonance that may help you figure out whether you or a loved one is experiencing this phenomenon. Negative consequences of cognitive dissonance reduction include procrastination or acting seemingly contrary to our values and beliefs. However, it can be beneficial to remind ourselves that it exists as a psychological safety mechanism to help us perceive the world consistently and to protect the perception we have about ourselves.
Is cognitive dissonance a good thing?
Although people may think cognitive dissonance is a bad thing, it actually helps to keep us mentally healthy and happy. It may make us feel satisfied with our choices—or at least lets us justify them—especially when they cannot be easily reversed.
Following the https://ecosoberhouse.com/, each of the negative elements of the selected option and the favorable characteristics of the rejected alternative is discordant with the decision. On the other hand, the decision is consistent with each of the selected option’s good elements, and the rejected alternative’s bad aspects. Difficult decisions should elicit more dissonance than easy decisions because a difficult decision will result in a higher proportion of discordant cognitions than an easy one. As a result, there will be more desirable to alleviate cognitive dissonance following a tough decision.
A Biosocial Model of Affective Decision Making
cognitive dissonance theory who learn that greenhouse emissions result in global warming might experience feelings of dissonance if they drive a gas-guzzling vehicle. To reduce this dissonance, they may seek out new information that overrides the belief that greenhouse gasses contribute to global warming. This phenomenon, known as confirmation bias, affects the ability to think critically about a situation but helps minimize feelings of dissonance.
Sometimes the truth hurts, especially if it contradicts what we believe. John believes eating wholesome foods is essential for his long-term well-being. 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.
Cognitive Dissonance: Theory, Examples & How to Reduce It
In the case of the spilled coffee, returning to that state of mental harmony isn’t too difficult. To get a clear picture of what cognitive dissonance is, it helps to first grasp what happens when that tension (or “dissonance”) occurs. Corrine Leikam, PsyD, a psychologist in Woodland Hills, California, says our instinctive reaction is to try to resolve the conflict and bring stability back to our lives. A man who learns that his eating habits raise his risk of illness feels the tension between his preferred behavior and the idea that he could be in danger. He might ease this feeling by telling himself that the health warning is exaggerated or, more productively, by deciding to take action to change his behavior.
- Cognitive dissonance isn’t something we talk about a lot, but we experience examples of it happening all the time.
- This notion holds that one cannot ignore this kind of mental discomfort.
- If the behavior really bothers you, you may stop hanging out with those friends.
- Only then, having a change in attitude which create a dissonance of current beliefs and previous actions, which can also be characterized as regret .
- If John keeps thinking about how miserable he is, it is going to be a very long four years.
- To strengthen the belief, new converts would be needed, which requires proselytizing.
As an alternative to this misery, John can change his beliefs or attitudes. He can tell himself, “I am becoming stronger, healthier, and sharper. What I am doing is really important.” If this is his belief, he will realize that he is becoming stronger through his challenges. He then will feel better and not experience cognitive dissonance, which is an uncomfortable state. Later research documented that only conflicting cognitions that threaten individuals’ positive self-image cause dissonance (Greenwald & Ronis, 1978).
Articles Related to Cognitive Dissonance
Many of these studies also involve only college students who do not adequately represent the wider population. We therefore have to be cautious about how we generalize the results of such studies. If the self-attributes are relevant to the behavior in question, they will increase dissonance by reminding individuals about the standard they failed to meet. Let’s say you believe lying is wrong but one day you lie to your professor. If in your despair your friend reminds you that you are usually a good and honest person , the model suggests that you will not find this comforting at all. Your friend’s comment would simply remind you of the high standards you have for yourself. When you are made to think about how good and honest you usually are, lying to your professor seems even more outrageous and your discomfort will increase.
- There are usually advantages and disadvantages to each possible course of action.
- The standard may be a generally shared understanding of what is desirable versus undesirable or a personal view of what is good and bad .
- The more the dissonance, the greater the uncomfortable effort necessary to get the desired result.
- Finally, a person can reinterpret their action so that it is not in tension with their beliefs.
- In fact, several other explanations have been generated to account for the results obtained in Festinger and Carlsmith’s one dollar/twenty dollar study.
- Leon Festinger first proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance, centered on how people try to reach internal consistency.