Cognitive Dissonance in Theory and Everyday Life

In comparison, some other paradigms, such as the free-choice or the effort justification paradigms, have very few measures of the level of psychological discomfort they induce. This amounts to many data supporting the idea that writing a counterattitudinal essay evokes negative affect, but scarce evidence that the other paradigms induce the same negative affect. As presented above, studies assessing arousal are unclear regarding whether the different cognitive dissonance paradigms elicit the same sort of arousal. Therefore, it is still to be determined if there exists a common CDS across these paradigms. Psychologist Leon Festinger introduced the theory of cognitive dissonance, which is the discomfort people feel when their thoughts and actions don’t align, in a famous study where he paid people to lie. He found that cognitive dissonance happens when there is an inconsistency in a person’s beliefs and actions, and they recognize that inconsistency. To try to resolve their cognitive dissonance, a person can change their beliefs, change their actions, or change their perception of their actions.

cognitive dissonance theory

In our opinion, these studies are valuable as the psychological discomfort is supposed to be the core of the theory and the mediator of all cognitive dissonance. In this context, further studies investigating the nature and characteristics of the CDS will be informative and will help understanding the processes behind cognitive dissonance. While most scholars agree on the notion that the CDS is aversive, this assumption has remained untested for a long time (Devine et al., 1999). Early studies on the valence of dissonance arousal mainly used the misattribution paradigm (Zanna & Cooper, 1974).

Signs and Causes of Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance theory might suggest that since votes are an expression of preference or beliefs, even the act of voting might cause someone to defend the actions of the candidate for whom they voted,[self-published source? ] and if the decision was close then the effects of cognitive dissonance should be greater. In The Efficacy of Musical Emotions Provoked by Mozart’s Music for the Reconciliation of Cognitive Dissonance , a variant of the forbidden-toy paradigm, indicated that listening to music reduces the development of cognitive dissonance. Without music in the background, the control group of four-year-old children were told to avoid playing with a forbidden toy. After playing alone, the control-group children later devalued the importance of the forbidden toy. In the variable group, classical music played in the background while the children played alone.

Who developed the cognitive dissonance theory?

The cognitive dissonance theory was developed by Stanford University professor Leon Festinger prompted by his observational studies.

The mental clash or tension resulting from the processes of acquiring knowledge or understanding through the senses is called cognitive dissonance. In simple, the clash of minds when we must choose from the choices can be called as cognitive dissonance. Festinger developed an experiment in which people had to perform a mundane, repetitive task . They were then paid to lie to someone and attempt to cognitive dissonance theory convince the person that the task was interesting. Festinger created two groups, one group’s members were paid a small amount of money, and another group was paid a larger amount of money. Festinger found that those who were given more money experienced less cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance isn’t an issue in most circumstances, and cognitive or behavioral changes can help you flourish.

What Causes Cognitive Dissonance?

Everyday Health supports Group Black and its mission to increase greater diversity in media voices and media ownership. For example, maybe you’re deciding between two restaurants for dinner on Friday night. Just because you choose the Mexican place doesn’t mean the Italian place is awful. But you might find yourself saying, “I don’t like their pasta anyway” or “the Mexican place is a much better value” in order to convince yourself that you made the right choice. Learn about the essential role of sleep in women’s health — from girlhood to menopause and beyond. And sometimes we find ourselves doing things or thinking things that are completely contradictory to our values — or what we thought we always believed. The believers shunned publicity while they awaited the flying saucer and the flood.

Cognitive Dissonance: Overview, Effects, and Examples – Verywell Health

Cognitive Dissonance: Overview, Effects, and Examples.

Posted: Tue, 05 Jul 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source]

The theory behind this approach is that in order to resolve the dissonance, a person’s implicit beliefs about their body and thinness will change, reducing their desire to limit their food intake. However, Festinger believed that all people are motivated to avoid or resolve cognitive dissonance due to the discomfort it causes. This can prompt people to adopt certain defense mechanisms when they have to confront it. Another way to make sense of what happened is to maintain the same belief about being taken away in a flying saucer but just change the date. This would justify the sacrifices that were made by increasing the value of their original belief. To strengthen the belief, new converts would be needed, which requires proselytizing. Indeed, this also occurred, with some group members proselytizing their beliefs after the disconfirmation.

Cognitive Dissonance: Theory, Examples & How to Reduce It

Just world bias can explain tendencies for victim blaming after a disaster. If we are embarrassed by a particular action, we may do it secretly. For instance, a person may be ashamed of their smoking and hide that fact from their coworkers. Cognitive dissonance as a relevant construct throughout the decision-making and consumption process – An empirical investigation related to a package tour. It occurs in all of us frequently, not just when planning to diet and justifying a doughnut with a delayed diet start. A good example is the prospect of embarrassing ourselves in front of others, such as by forgetting our words during a speech. However, after further thought, we may decide that it does not matter what others think of us and can thus reduce the dissonance.

  • As a public relations person, it is his or her responsibility to provide the target audience with information.
  • Change your beliefs – You could change your mind and say, ‘You know what?
  • 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.
  • However, the degree of dissonance depends on the number and importance of the beliefs and behaviors in conflict (Fisher et al., 2008).
  • Notably, this proselytizing solution reflects not only effort justification but also the motivation to create a shared reality with others that their beliefs are true.