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Cognitive dissonance: Definition, effects, and examples

By 2021-11-01april 27th, 2023No Comments

In the 1980s, Cooper and Fazio argued that dissonance was caused by aversive consequences, rather than inconsistency. According to this interpretation, the belief that lying is wrong and hurtful, not the inconsistency between cognitions, is what makes people feel bad. Subsequent research, however, found that people experience dissonance even when they believe they have not done anything wrong.

  • Read on for some examples and practical applications of cognitive dissonance in this PsycholoGenie article.
  • The first sign of cognitive dissonance is the discomfort a person feels due to their inner conflict.
  • In the fable of ”The Fox and the Grapes”, by Aesop, on failing to reach the desired bunch of grapes, the fox then decides he does not truly want the fruit because it is sour.

Change your actions – Instead of changing beliefs, you could change your actions to meet your beliefs. For example, you could promise yourself that you’ll never lie again, or you could go back and tell the person in the hallway that you lied and that the task really wasn’t very interesting. Understand what cognitive dissonance is, examine the cognitive dissonance theory, and see examples of cognitive dissonance. When your thoughts and actions conflict with one another, you will either reject, explain away or avoid the situation to make sure that your body and mind remain aligned.

Tips for resolving cognitive dissonance

According to social exchange theory, perceived benefits in the form of incentives to participate must outweigh the costs of participation (i.e., the time and effort to complete the survey). Perceived benefits include both material incentives like cash payments, free gifts or prize draws and intangible ones such as feelings of enjoyment or a sense of social contribution from participating in a worthwhile project . Cognitive dissonance theory helps illuminate social incentives for survey completion.

What is an example of dissonance theory?

Here are just a few cognitive dissonance examples that you may notice in your own: You want to be healthy, but you don't exercise regularly or eat a nutritious diet. You feel guilty as a result. You know that smoking (or drinking too much) is harmful to your health, but you do it anyway.

Subjects of one group were paid twenty dollars ($20); those in a second group were paid one dollar ($1) and those in the control group were not asked to speak with the imposter-subject. After performing dissonant behavior a person might find external, consonant elements. Therefore, a snake oil salesman might find a psychological self-justification for promoting medical falsehoods, but, otherwise, might need to change his beliefs about the falsehoods.

What Causes Cognitive Dissonance?

The subjects in the paid groups experienced dissonance due to inconsistencies between their attitudes and behavior. The subjects’ believed the tasks to be boring, but they told the confederate that the tasks were interesting. However, the one-dollar group rated the tasks positively, while the twenty-dollar group rated the tasks negatively. The twenty-dollar group had external justification for their inconsistency–money motivated them to lie to the confederate about the task being interesting when it was actually boring. Receiving only one dollar did not seem to justify lying to the confederate and compelled subjects in the one-dollar group to internalize the “interesting task” mental attitude.

To avoid that feeling, you would want to research information on both brands to decide which is right for you and your budget. A marketer may also want to provide statistics and demographic data to back up their claims that their dishwasher is the best. Cognitive dissonance is actually used as a tool for marketing correctly and getting the job done. For instance, a company may sell something to give a part of the proceeds to charity, and for that purpose, may send their sales-people to stop pedestrians and ask them to buy their product.

What’s an Example of Cognitive Dissonance?

In this way, he would be decreasing the importance of dissonant cognition (smoking is bad for one’s health). Change one or more of the attitudes, behavior, beliefs, etc., to make the relationship between the two elements a consonant one. Female participants were informed they would be helping out in a study funded by several manufacturers. Participants cognitive dissonance theory were also told that they would receive one of the products at the end of the experiment to compensate for their time and effort. For example, when people smoke and they know that smoking causes cancer , they are in a state of cognitive dissonance. Pilot trial of a dissonance-based cognitive-behavioral group depression prevention with college students.

cognitive dissonance theory example