Cognitive Dissonance: Theory, Examples & How to Reduce It

Because it is something a person feels internally, it is not possible to physically observe dissonance. As such, no set of external signs can reliably indicate a person is experiencing cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance occurs when a person holds two related but contradictory cognitions, or thoughts. Understanding our mechanisms with which we reduce dissonance and recognizing when it occurs are key to making informed and constructive decisions. Self-awareness and mindfulness practice empower us to notice inconsistencies in our thinking and find the space between dissonance triggers and our reaction so we can choose a response we are truly happy with. If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others through CBT, this collection contains 17 validated positive CBT tools for practitioners.

According to Festinger, we can work to reduce the dissonance we feel in several different ways. Another person (who appeared to not be part of the original study) then asked participants to report on how interesting the study actually was. By using these types of explanations, the smoker is able to reduce the dissonance and continue the unhealthy behavior.

Modeling in neural networks

They read instructions explaining that a faculty committee wanted to know students’ attitudes towards a possible increase in tuition fees. In order to know the general attitudes of the students, participants were told that they would have to write an essay either in favour of or against an increase in tuition fees. In the Counter-attitudinal condition, all participants were told that they would have to write an essay in favour of an increase in inscription fees. In the Pro-attitudinal condition, participants could freely choose to write either in favour or opposing an increase.

Unlock The Power of Cognitive Dissonance – Retire by 40

Unlock The Power of Cognitive Dissonance.

Posted: Mon, 25 Sep 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

The effects may relate to the discomfort of the dissonance itself or the defense mechanisms a person adopts to deal with it. If that same person believes the COVID-19 pandemic is real but refuses to wear a mask, their values and behaviors would contradict each other. Read on to learn more about cognitive dissonance, including examples, signs a person might be experiencing it, causes, and how to resolve it. We may perceive dissonance when we engage in a new behavior (e.g., when we decline an invitation to an event we usually attend in order to protect our leisure time).

How Attitude Change Takes Place

After all, participants who had told a lie for $20 felt that they could justify the lie because they were paid relatively well (in other words, receiving the large sum of money reduced their feelings of dissonance). Because people want to avoid discomfort, cognitive dissonance can have a wide range of effects. We may engage in behaviors or adopt attitudes to help relieve the discomfort caused by the conflict.

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