Cognitive Dissonance Theory Psychology

For example, people who hold strong beliefs about the detrimental impact of gas-powered cars on the environment might find it more comfortable to switch to a hybrid or electric vehicle. However, this shift requires convincing them to consider greenhouse gasses and emissions as significant issues worthy of attention. Customers may experience discomfort if they perceive a gap between their expectations and the actual product or service received. Imagine moving forward with a work project launch because a manager instructed you to meet a deadline.

How Cognitive Dissonance Affects Us in Crazy Political Times – Health HowStuffWorks

How Cognitive Dissonance Affects Us in Crazy Political Times.

Posted: Fri, 17 Mar 2017 07:00:00 GMT [source]

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. They include avoiding or devaluing factual information, rationalizing, changing one’s behavior, or developing critical thinking. This theory is based on the idea that when an individual experiences conflict between two mental states, they experience tension (cognitive dissonance) which leads to a change in one of the two mental states, or both. 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.

Examples of cognitive dissonance in the workplace

For example, a person eats a lot of sugary, fatty foods every day while he is at risk of diabetes, and he is aware of the consequences. People begin to seek support from those who share similar views or try to convince others that the new information is inaccurate, looking for ways to justify behavior that goes against their beliefs. Such denial of cognitive dissonance may sound harmless at first – but unchecked avoidance has severe implications for individuals and those around them (Festinger, 1957).

cognitive dissonance theory example

“You might say to yourself that it’s okay because there wasn’t much left and, anyway, there’s coffee usually brewing in the office kitchen,” Dr. Noulas says. Read on to learn about where you’ve likely encountered cognitive dissonance before. For example, in the realm of pet products, brands might emphasize the benefits of natural ingredients and enhanced pet health. This approach can make spending more on premium pet food appear less of an issue, thereby reducing the sense of dissonance. For example, after you finally decide which of two toothpaste brands to buy, you internally make yourself feel good about your purchasing decision.

Common causes of cognitive dissonance

Learn how to stimulate your vagus nerve to soothe stress and feel calmer, among other possible health perks. Whether the dissonance is favorable or unfavorable, this theory resonates with everyone’s decision-making, making it an invaluable asset for researchers, marketers, and visionary business leaders. In the world of business and commerce, cognitive dissonance can have certain implications.

  • 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.
  • Everyday Health follows strict sourcing guidelines to ensure the accuracy of its content, outlined in our editorial policy.
  • In fact, it is a psychological mechanism that helps us perceive our world (and our place in it) consistently.
  • Toolshero supports people worldwide (10+ million visitors from 100+ countries) to empower themselves through an easily accessible and high-quality learning platform for personal and professional development.
  • While cognitive dissonance is often described as something widely and regularly experienced, efforts to capture it in studies don’t always work, so it could be less common than has been assumed.

Results like Condorcet’s jury theorem suggest that if many people converge on the same answer to a question (independently of one another, to avoid groupthink), we should treat that as good evidence that it’s the correct one. For example, a person may cognitive dissonance and addiction have to do something they disagree with at work. Cognitive dissonance and the way we cope with it regularly affect our relationships, too, both positively and negatively. Koller and Salzberger (2007) developed an eight-item consumer behavior scale.

In what ways can cognitive dissonance be resolved?

The products included an automatic coffee maker, an electric sandwich grill, an automatic toaster, and a portable radio. Brehm (1956) was the first to investigate the relationship between dissonance and decision-making. When someone is forced to do (publicly) something they (privately) really don’t want to do, dissonance is created between their cognition (I didn’t want to do this) and their behavior (I did it).

  • Also, cognitive dissonance can hinder effective decision-making as rationalizing their professional choices to align with their existing beliefs makes it more difficult.
  • Any person displaying regular risky behaviour can justify it by claiming that you have to live every day like it might be your last.
  • Becoming aware of how conflicting beliefs impact the decision-making process is a great way to improve your ability to make faster and more accurate choices.

Cognitive dissonance is a term that describes the mental discomfort that results when we hold two beliefs or values that are incompatible with each other. This inconsistency between what we think and how we behave can cause feelings of unease. Cognitive dissonance is experienced on a large scale in a work environment. One example would be when a superior tells his junior that he needs to get a practically impossible task done pronto, or he’ll simply be replaced by some other subordinate.

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