As this process continues, it often amplifies emotions and keeps our rational and analytical thinking supressed. Contrary to common advice used when dealing with people and decisions, emotions can never really be ‘placed aside’. They in many ways form a critical part of making the right decisions. In situations which are causing cognitive dissonance, having emotions under control but active in the background is the cognitive dissonance theory and sober living key in being able to rationally analyse internal stressors and exercise critical thinking. You’ve likely experienced cognitive dissonance many, many times before. What you may not have known is that psychologists have in fact named the unease you were feeling — and have spent a lot of time and energy studying it. The theory of cognitive dissonance was developed in 1957 by a social psychologist named Leon Festinger.

Other times, you may try to rationalize the inconsistent thought or behavior so it appears to be more consistent with your beliefs. “In order to resolve the conflict, you may change your behavior or you may even change your attitude to be more flexible,” Dr. Leikam says. In other words, you’ll rationalize what you did and talk yourself into believing the behavior wasn’t all that different from your usual beliefs.

cognitive dissonance theory and sober living

You may simply adjust the importance of one idea, belief, or attitude so it’s less dissonant, she says. Cognitive dissonance can occur because people fear appearing foolish or ignorant. This type of internal conflict also occurs because people feel guilty or uneasy about holding these opposing cognitions – they don’t want to think of themselves as illogical or inconsistent. These internal conflicts are hard to live with, and if not dealt with the individual will feel bad about themselves. Humans are so good at dealing with cognitive dissonance that the process occurs without them even noticing it. The CDT field is fruitful, with hundreds of studies covering a large array of tasks and topics. This number of studies is a strong argument for the conceptual validity of the theory.

For instance, let’s say a single man is looking for a partner who values financial security, time with family and friends, and shares his love of football. Most importantly, she prefers financial stability to shopping sprees and loves spending time with her family and group of friends. The woman has never been to a football game and has no interest in the sport, but she appreciates the man’s enthusiasm. Most of us have a list of qualities and values we look for in a potential partner when we’re dating. Perhaps your ideal mate loves children and wants to have a big family. Let’s say you have great chemistry with a man you met through a mutual friend.

When Cognitive Dissonance Becomes Problematic

If researchers tend to analyze information in a way that supports conclusions that are consistent with their own beliefs, then cognitive dissonance may threaten the objective methodology that underpins much of academia today. Unfortunately, many people will resolve the dissonance without doing the right thing.

However, some of the core hypotheses of CDT have not been as thoroughly examined and, in their case, the field may benefit from an increased standardization. One of our main concerns here is about the CDS and its investigation. Overall, cognitive dissonance studies have many variations with one another. In addition, these studies are strongly socially contextualized and thus may have different impacts depending on place, culture, and temporality. All these variations are likely to alter a number of variables theoretically linked with the CDS and its regulation, such as the importance of the involved cognition, the evoked emotions, the level of self-involvement, or the perceived choice. As we emphasized above, this large variation in the induction is beneficial for the conceptual validity of the theory.

After all, participants who had told a lie for $20 felt that they could justify the lie because they were paid relatively well . These cognitions are “consonant,” meaning that they are related and that one follows from the other. Antisocial personality disorder involves patterns of disregard for the rights of others. Cognitive dissonance affects everyone, and it plays a role in many of a person’s daily judgments and decisions. One example of reconciling differences is when a person stops eating meat because they love animals or dislike the thought of killing them. A person may reconcile differences by giving up eating meat because they love animals. They may seek out support from others who share similar beliefs or try to convince others that the new information is inaccurate.

cognitive dissonance theory and sober living

There is expressed concern regarding methodology and while objects are homogenized but for color, nothing is mentioned about why red may be chosen over blue, but blue over green in a subsequent trial. I prefer the M&M trials to using Skittles (because the taste doesn’t vary, only the color). Personally, because green is my favorite color, I arbitrarily prefer green M&M’s to the others. As a result, I eat my M&M’s in reverse order of my preferred colors, choosing all others before my favorite color of green so I could hang on to them longer for my viewing pleasure. The “why” of behavior is important, especially when it doesn’t make sense. Cognitive Dissonance remains a difficult process to synthesize within the lab, but easy to rationalize outside of it.

Overall, EB&S report that the monkeys chose the green candy 42 out of 70 times, or 60% of the time. Or have researchers for decades been rationalizing their own work because of a mathematical flaw in the experiments that led to the theory of cognitive dissonance? Today we’ve got two new offerings in this debate, but first let me give you some background. CDT is an old and respectable theory, but at the same time is still under construction.

Here’s How And Why To Reduce Cognitive Dissonance

The psychological discomfort we feel when we experience cognitive dissonance can spur us to make informed decisions . Another prime example Sober living houses of cognitive dissonance in relationships occurs when infidelity occurs despite the deep-seated belief that cheating is hurtful and wrong.

Your partner will only take action to resolve or reduce their cognitive dissonance when the psychological stress causes greater distress. Cognitive dissonance in relationships is when our attitudes or beliefs regarding the relationship and our partner differ from our behaviors.

cognitive dissonance theory and sober living

And not dealing with the dissonance you do feel can affect your mental health and well-being. Our behaviors and attitudes are greatly affected by cognitive dissonance. Other times we make adjustments and attempt to avoid things that make our decisions feel worse. Despite my concerns, I am really pleased that the authors are advancing the literature by trying to deal with the information revealed by choices. We hope that all researchers studying the effect of choice on subsequent preferences will acknowledge the important role of preferences in people’s choices, and design experiments that try to control for the information revealed in choice. Although I think this methodology could offer new insights, I have three concerns.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory: Wealth And Poverty

Though distinct, these studies have in common an initial choice that is not guided by preferences, and are thus immune to Keith’s prior preference-based critique. From this work, we can conclude that even blind choices create preferences in monkeys and children. In the new child study, we first gave children a choice between two hidden toys that were identical except for color. After their choice, the children saw the toy they chose, but not the one they’d rejected. Then the children made a second choice, between the rejected toy and a new, third toy, identical in shape.

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. The degree of dissonance people experience can depend on a few different factors, including how highly they value a particular belief and the degree to which their beliefs are inconsistent. Cognitive dissonance in an emotionally dependent relationship gives us the key to be able to detect self-deception.

  • Your partner will only take action to resolve or reduce their cognitive dissonance when the psychological stress causes greater distress.
  • Psychologist Leon Festinger first described the theory of cognitive dissonance in 1957.
  • Indeed, if the process conceptualized by CDT involves three steps (inconsistency-CDS-regulation), then regulation is only the third part of a triptych causal-relation.
  • Or maybe she’ll say she doesn’t smoke nearly enough cigarettes for them to cause serious harm.
  • First, the results EB&S report are not statistically significant at the level most scientist consider reliable, and even this requires somewhat heroic statistics.
  • Conceptually, Festinger defined cognitive dissonance as a state of psychological discomfort that motivates its regulation, then later, as a state of arousal (e.g., Lawrence and Festinger, 1962).

Further, future problems can be prevented by simply avoiding that type of information — simply refusing to read studies on ice cream, health magazines, etc. It refers to the mental conflict that occurs when a person’s behaviors and beliefs do not align. Changing our beliefs when they are challenged Addiction by new information is often better than ignoring this information or rationalizing the existing beliefs which may be wrongly held. Thinking of change negatively may cause us to avoid employing it when in dissonance. So, we should instead seek to associate change with gratification and gain.

Eager To Know How Behavioural Science Can Help Your Organization?

His career in the Western Australian mining industry began in 1989 where Goran performed a multitude of operational and leadership roles, culminating in a full time engagement as a safety professional in 2005. Goran’s specialties include Safety Culture, Leadership and Operational Discipline interventions and catastrophic risk profiling and management. Goran holds a Master’s Degree in OHS from Edith Cowen University in Western Australia. He also holds a number of vocational educational accreditations and is currently undertaking further studies in the area of Management and Leadership. Goran has held a number of senior HSE management positions in Western Australian Mining where he has managed multidisciplinary teams as well as lead and assisted in development and implementation of HSE management systems.

cognitive dissonance theory and sober living

There are a number of different situations that can create conflicts that lead to cognitive dissonance. And of course there are ultimate emotional discomforts, dissonances related to our desire to live and at the same time the knowledge that our material existence is finite. Otherwise it is impossible to understand why people enjoy sad music. The most listened piece of music is Adagio for Strings by Barber, which is so sad it cannot be listened without tears. In 2004 listeners of the BBC’s Today program voted Adagio for Strings the “saddest classical” work ever.

What Is Cognitive Dissonance?

However, you may also feel guilt over this omission, which is a lie. This looks at cognitive dissonance in a different aspect of education.

Author: Kim Rose

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