Cognitive Dissonance Theory
It is a theory in social psychology first proposed by Leon
Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting
attitudes, beliefs or behaviors.
In simple terms it is “inconsistency”
When people smoke “Behavior” and they know that smoking
causes cancer “Cognition” they are in state of cognitive
A cognition is a piece of knowledge such as a thought and
We ask our kids to do a lot of things which even we don’t do.
Causes of cognitive dissonance
It include being forced to comply with something against their
beliefs, having to decide between different choices and having to
put effort into the goal.
Effects of cognitive dissonance
It can affect people in a wide range of ways. The internal
discomfort and tension of cognitive dissonance could
contribute to stress or unhappiness.
People who experience dissonance but have no way to
resolve it may also feel powerless or guilty.
Factors to reduce cognitve dissonace
The importance of elements creating dissonance
The degree of influence that individuals believes they
have over the elements
Rewards that may be involved in dissonance
Changing the behavior: One can stop smoking
Changing thoughts: Smoking is not that bad
Ignoring thoughts: I don’t care
Changing their actions: This involves changing behavior so it
matches a person’s beliefs. Where a full change is not
possible, a person could make compromises. For instance, a
person who cares about the environment but works for a
company that pollutes might advocate for change at work, if
they cannot leave their job.
Changing their perception of the action: If a person cannot
or does not want to change the behavior or beliefs that cause
dissonance, they may view the behavior differently instead. For
example, a person who cannot afford to buy from sustainable
brands might forgive themselves for this and acknowledge that
they are doing the best they can.
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