Cognitive Dissonance in Theory and Everyday Life

High-choice condition participants showed a higher level of the left frontal cortex than the low-choice participants. Results show that the initial experience of dissonance can be apparent in the anterior cingulate cortex, then the left frontal cortex is activated, which also activates the approach motivational system to reduce anger. The theory can also be used to explain reasons for donating to charity.Cognitive dissonance can be applied in social areas such as racism and racial hatred. Research from Acharya, Blackwell and Sen shows that individuals committing violence against members of another group develop hostile attitudes towards their victims as a way of minimizing cognitive dissonance. Importantly, the hostile attitudes may persist even after the violence itself declines .

Because of these shortcomings, recipients’ motivation to bolster their position may be substantial. They may be motivated to carefully attend to the message as a means to ensure that their own views are indeed “correct” and/or that the outcomes they prefer are still likely to occur.

Cognitive dissonance of Leon Festinger

A study was done to test the prediction that the left frontal cortex would have increased activity. University students had to write a paper depending on if they were assigned to a high-choice or low-choice condition.

  • He is well known for his theories of “Cognitive Dissonance and Social Comparison”.
  • For example, if you engage in a behavior that you later learn is harmful, it can lead to feelings of discomfort.
  • Sometimes when patients engage in a new, more constructive behavior, they can perceive dissonance simply because it is contrary to the way they used to act.
  • In a second step, they were shown a list of seven specific harmful behaviours concerning the environment and had to mark the ones they personally did in the last month (e.g., “Using a car for a short trip”).
  • For example, if your inner conflict was between choosing vanilla or chocolate ice cream, you might feel minimal discomfort over picking one of the flavors.

This new belief was added to rationalize the glaring inconsistency they faced, and to resolve the resulting dissonance. In 1968 Festinger was appointed the Else and Hans Staudinger Professor of Psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York City. In the late 1970s he turned to questions about human nature raised by archeological data. His work resulted in a monograph, The Human Legacy, published in 1983. Initially, Festinger’s “archeological” work was perceived as being at the margins of social psychology, but it was later seen as prescient of contemporary developments in evolutionary and cultural psychology. Forced-compliance paradigm, in which the subject performed a series of repetitive and boring menial tasks and then was asked to lie to the “next subject” and say that the tasks were interesting and enjoyable. One could be when someone is a smoker and knows it’s bad but does it anyway.

Real-Life Examples of Cognitive Dissonance

For example, if a class assignment requires that you debate against a position that you strongly believe in, you would likely feel uncomfortable. Similarly, if your job involves promoting and speaking glowingly about a product that you really dislike, it is fair to assume you would experience some amount of dissonance.

Cognitive Dissonance: Overview, Effects, and Examples – Verywell Health

Cognitive Dissonance: Overview, Effects, and Examples.

Posted: Tue, 05 Jul 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source]

As with most theories in social psychology, location and culture are crucial factors in the results of an experiment. Researchers cognitive dissonance theory wanted to investigate whether cognitive dissonance can be beneficial and can lead to positive changes in the community.

Cognitive Dissonance: Definition, Theory, & Examples

Therefore, our behaviors typically reflect these values and belief systems. If you have been in a situation when your thoughts, ideas, and values didn’t match one another or your behavior, you might have experienced a phenomenon called cognitive dissonance. In this article, we’ll define what cognitive dissonance is and explain its underlying theory. We’ll also examine some well-known studies, as well as examples from various domains of life. Finally, we’ll discuss tips to spot and deal with cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance produces a state of negative affect, which motivates the person to reconsider the causative behavior in order to resolve the psychological inconsistency that caused the mental stress. As the affected person works towards a behavioral commitment, the motivational process then is activated in the left frontal cortex of the brain.

cognitive dissonance theory