What Is Cognitive Dissonance? Definition and Examples

When the COVID-19 vaccine was eventually released to the public, this only made the resistance stronger. This is often very difficult, as people frequently employ a variety of mental maneuvers. A classic dissonance experiment by Aronson and Mills (1959) demonstrates the basic idea. It also seems to be the case that we value most highly those goals or items which have required considerable effort to achieve. Brehm (1956) was the first to investigate the relationship between dissonance and decision-making.

When the desired “something” is very important, we may have dissonant cognitions that make us tense and unhappy. Coping mechanisms can include justifying their behavior (and our relationship with them), trivializing their behavior or the importance of it, attempting to change their behavior, or changing our own behavior. Cognitive dissonance and the way we cope with it regularly affect our relationships, too, both positively and negatively.

Example of Cognitive Dissonance

According to Festinger, cognitive dissonance occurs when people’s thoughts and feelings are inconsistent with their behavior, which results in an uncomfortable, disharmonious feeling. Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. People tend to seek consistency in their attitudes and perceptions, so this conflict causes unpleasant feelings of unease or discomfort.

  • Sometimes learning new information can lead to feelings of cognitive dissonance.
  • First, the person could remove the dissonant cognition by either changing his behaviour (stop smoking) or knowledge (believe that smoking is actually not bad for health).
  • For the purpose of developing a relevant instrument, we believe that there is much to gain from taking a step back and examining the characteristics of the CDS in a more global framework.
  • This episode of the podcast Behavioral Grooves features an interview with Dr. Kathleen Vohs on cognitive dissonance theory.
  • People who feel it could realize, for example, that they need to update their beliefs to reflect the truth, or change their behavior to better match the person they want to be.
  • More aimed at advanced researchers in cognitive dissonance, Harmon-Jones 2019 (the second edition of Harmon-Jones and Mills 1999) is an edited volume that synthesizes modern perspectives on dissonance.

This theory has been discussed since the early days of Festinger’s proposal of cognitive dissonance. The idea is, choosing something that is in opposition to how you feel or believe in will increase cognitive dissonance. In both https://ecosoberhouse.com/ conditions, we used commitment variables to maximize the magnitude of cognitive dissonance in the Counter-attitudinal condition (i.e., aversive consequence, freedom, publicity; see Harmon-Jones & Mills, 1999; Kiesler, 1971).

Alternative paradigms

Life is filled with decisions, and decisions (as a general rule) arouse dissonance. Saul Mcleod, PhD., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/cognitive-dissonance-treatment-in-sober-living/ years of experience in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

  • Cognitive dissonance and the way we cope with it regularly affect our relationships, too, both positively and negatively.
  • This offers opportunities to discuss the discrepancies, deepen the relationship, and re-align values.
  • Your behavior contradicts not just the beliefs you have about the world, but also the beliefs that you have about yourself.
  • Their questionnaire includes items regarding the decision-making process before and after the purchase.
  • When Festinger (1957) proposed cognitive dissonance theory, the behaviorist perspective and reinforcement theory (e.g., Skinner 1938) were influential in how theorists thought about human behavior.
  • With this scale, each of the three dimensions is measured with six bipolar items.

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