Cognitive dissonance Wikipedia

Recent data (Randles et al., 2015) support that CDT is similar to many other meaning violations and such suggestions are real opportunities to gain a deeper comprehension of human functioning. Investigations of CDT in social neuroscience (e.g., van Veen et al., 2009; Harmon-Jones et al., 2015; Izuma and Murayama, 2019) also show similitudes in the activated areas with other theories. For instance, the anterior cingulate cortex is consistently activated in CDT paradigms, but also in MMM paradigms (see Proulx et al., 2012) and in mortality salience paradigms (Quirin et al., 2012). Last, suggestions about the induction procedure, such as the use of implicit inconsistency exposure (Levy et al., 2017), also permit merging several procedures which are widespread in close fields (e.g., Stroop task) but that were unusual for CDT. The third limitation is that there are few studies using reliable measures of the CDS. As we wrote above, instruments that focus on general feelings or emotions may in fact capture other emotions.

  • That is, there is mental discord related to a contradiction between one thought (in this case, knowing he did something wrong) and another (thinking that he is honest).
  • The idea is, choosing something that is in opposition to how you feel or believe in will increase cognitive dissonance.
  • Since they work all day in an office and spend a great deal of time sitting, it is difficult to change their behavior.

The theory was based on the belief that people strive toward consistency within themselves and are driven to make changes to reduce or eliminate an inconsistency (Cooper, 2007). Cognitive dissonance theory began by postulating that pairs of cognitions can be either relevant or irrelevant to one another. However, if two cognitions are relevant, but conflicting, the existence of dissonance would cause psychological discomfort and motivate the individual to act upon this.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

They were then paid either $1 or $20 to tell a waiting participant (a confederate) that the tasks were really interesting. Almost all of the participants agreed to walk into the waiting room and persuade the confederate that the boring experiment would be fun. According to Festinger, there are a few ways that a person might resolve this dissonance.

Theoretically, dissonance may contribute to a variety of changes in behavior or beliefs. Mismatches between your beliefs and actions can lead to feelings of discomfort (and, sometimes, coping choices that have negative impacts), but such feelings can also sometimes lead to change and growth. Because people want to avoid discomfort, cognitive dissonance can have a wide range of effects.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance can even influence how people feel about and view themselves, leading to negative feelings of self-esteem and self-worth. When faced with two similar choices, we are often left with feelings of dissonance because both options are equally appealing. Acknowledging this involves recognizing the innate human tendency to attribute meaning, even when attributions may be irrational. Helping survivors grasp that not every outcome neatly ties to individual actions is a potent tool in dismantling the web of self-blame. It opens the door to self-compassion and the realization that some events are inherently unpredictable. Here are three key principles that govern survivor’s guilt and strategies to grapple with its effects.

  • The overspecialization of its operationalization and its historically restricting paradigms could have explained part of this side-lining (e.g., Aronson, 1992; Swann, 1992).
  • In our opinion, developing an instrument assessing a specific affect, such as the CDS, requires understanding the precise nature and characteristics of this affect.
  • However, after further thought, we may decide that it does not matter what others think of us and can thus reduce the dissonance.
  • This could be the occasion for CDT to reconnect with broader theories and several attempts have already been made.
  • We accomplish this by justifying why our choice was the best option so we can believe that we made the right decision.
  • Leon Festinger first proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance, centered on how people try to reach internal consistency.

The publicity and the consequences of the act were high, as participants were instructed to sign the consent form with their name and were told that their arguments would be presented to the committee. Free-choice was emphasized by telling participants that they were free to participate or not in the study and that they could quit the study at any time, without any loss of benefits or other negative consequences. There are plenty of sources, mostly scientific articles and books, that provide a wide overview of the literature on cognitive dissonance. After about a half century of the development of the theory, several authors have published condensed works and state-of-the-art pieces concerning the topic, but they often suggest a partially deviant point of view. Aronson 1992 and Brehm 2007, written by two of Festinger’s historical students, offer historical anecdotic information as well as keystones to understand the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance.

Connectivity to Broader Theories

As a consequence, the CDS is supposed to be activated when it conflicts with action and triggers an approach-oriented state. This model is supported by several observations including neural activation of zones linked to conflict and its resolution, such as the anterior cingulate cortex (Harmon-Jones et al., 2008a,b; van Veen et al., 2009; Izuma and Murayama, 2019). Hence, once more the time course could be relevant to understand the CDS process. The relation between inconsistency and CDS is more than a presence-absence relation and it forms a main axiom of CDT. As a consequence, to achieve a test of the model and clear predictions, one must measure the degree of inconsistency or other factors responsible for its magnitude which are supposed to impact the CDS (e.g., strength, importance, centrality). This relation between inconsistency and CDS has been under-examined in the literature, and an effort must be made to operationalize inconsistency rigorously.

To summarize, many situational variables determine how people defend BJW when confronted with a threatening injustice. These variables likely have their influence through general principles affecting preferences for alternative ways to manage threat. Of course, how people engage in BJW-defense is determined not only by situational characteristics, but also by characteristics of the person. However, new information such as “research has not proved definitely that smoking causes lung cancer” may reduce the dissonance. When one of the dissonant elements is a behavior, the individual can change or eliminate the behavior. This is probably because dissonance would be caused if we spent a great effort to achieve something and then evaluated it negatively.

Drawing a person’s attention to the dissonance between their behavior and their values may increase their awareness of the inconsistency and empower them to act. Most studies are unable to test such relations because they do not include all three elements noted in the previous paragraph, although there are a few exceptions (e.g., Kay, Jost, & Young, 2005, Study 1; Warner et al., 2012, Study 4). In one exception, Warner et al. (2012, Study 4) found that the temporal distance of victimization determined the degree to which people endorsed different BJW-defense strategies.

Concerning arousal, contrary to our hypothesis, neither Study 1 nor Study 2 have shown a significant effect of the CDS on participants’ reports of arousal. Given the strength of supporting evidence linking cognitive dissonance to arousal in the literature, this absence is peculiar. The successful detection of increased negative valence in both studies, as well as attitude change in Study 2, make us believe that the inductions should have been sufficient to evoke arousal. A likely explanation is that the PAD scale was not sensitive enough to capture the arousal properties of the CDS in our studies. One of the features that distinguished cognitive dissonance theory from other consistency theories was the concept of dissonance magnitude.

I share, therefore I know? Sharing online content – even without reading it – inflates subjective knowledge

In this way, the inconsistency between my knowledge of my hunger and the decision not to purchase food would seem more consistent. In many ways, the need to restore consistency is similar to the familiar concept of rationalization— indeed, rationalization is one way to deal with the dilemma posed by inconsistent cognitions. Finally, another possible feature of CDS concerns its relation to action tendencies. For the Action-Based Model (ABM; Harmon-Jones, 1999; Harmon-Jones et al., 2015), CDT serves the ultimate goal of reducing the interference with effective and unconflicted action.

  • This internal struggle can lead to a constant battle between opposing thoughts and emotions.
  • This standardization of the induction would rely on both a better operational definition of the manipulated variables, as we mentioned above, and also on the report of variables that are likely to influence the CDS, and thus its regulation.
  • We have millions of cognitions, many of which are in our awareness but most are not (Marx, 1976).
  • In the Pro-attitudinal condition, participants could freely choose to write either in favour or opposing an increase.
  • In simple terms, a dissonance is an inconsistency in cognitive elements, which can be knowledge, opinions, beliefs, or the behaviours of an individual.
  • The present results provide information with regard to our understanding of the CDS and are partially satisfying concerning the use of the PAD scale to assess the CDS.

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