Cognitive Dissonance Theory & Examples What is Cognitive Dissonance? Video & Lesson Transcript

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Cognitive Dissonance Theory & Examples What is Cognitive Dissonance? Video & Lesson Transcript

This happens because an online consumer does not have the opportunity to experience the product in its entirety, and must rely on what information is available through photos and descriptions. On the other hand, in-store shopping can sometimes be even more of an issue for consumers in regards to impulse buying. While the ease of online shopping proves hard to resist for impulse buyers, in-store shoppers may be influenced by who they are with. Shopping with friends increases the risk of impulse buying, especially compared to shopping with people such as one's parents. The general effectiveness of psychotherapy and psychological intervention is partly explained by the theory of cognitive dissonance. The cognitive dissonance theory was developed in the 1950s by a social psychologist called Leon Festinger. Until then, psychologists had thought people’s actions resulted from their core values and beliefs in a unidirectional and somewhat rigid manner.

What is cognitive dissonance theory in communication?

Cognitive dissonance theory in communication is when people need to understand that others might be facing cognitive dissonance when purchasing a new product or hearing a new sales pitch. It also refers to the knowledge that sometimes people lie because they face cognitive dissonance and are trying to rationalize their own actions.

A simple definition of cognitive dissonance theory states that individuals experience feelings of discomfort when encountering two or more conflicting beliefs, behaviors or attitudes. We find ways to reduce dissonance through behavioral or attitude changes.

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However, it could be challenging to pinpoint the connection because two parts might sound discordant in one setting but not in another. For example, two attitudes that a person holds are opposite and inconsistent. This would cause mental discomfort because there is cognitive dissonance. Festinger's original theory did not seek to explain how dissonance works. It proposes that cognitive dissonance theory inconsistencies in a person's cognition cause mental stress, because psychological inconsistency interferes with the person's functioning in the real world. If the person changes the current attitude, after the dissonance occurs, they are then obligated to commit to that course of behavior. At the conclusion of the study, subjects were asked to rate the tedious tasks.

cognitive dissonance theory

But people who were given only a dollar actually said they sort of enjoyed participating. In the first empirical test of this theory, researchers brought in college students to perform a really boring task.

Prompts About Cognitive Dissonance:

You feel guilty but can’t afford to buy meat from pasture-raised or grass-fed animals. You may make a conscious effort to choose nutritious foods, try to avoid processed foods and soda, and shoot for eight hours of sleep every night.

  • Conversely, we may justify or trivialize negative behavior or even end the relationship.
  • If the self-attributes are relevant to the behavior in question, they will increase dissonance by reminding individuals about the standard they failed to meet.
  • He talks about this theory in detail in his book “A theory of cognitive dissonance”.
  • In the case of a discrepancy between attitudes and behavior, it is most likely that the attitude will change to accommodate the behavior.
  • Sometimes, the ways that people resolve cognitive dissonance contribute to unhealthy behaviors or poor decisions.

People commonly experience changes in attitudes and mental health as a result of disharmony. The emotional state is negatively compromised with individuals feeling anxiety, guilt, and shame as a result.

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Your behavior contradicts not just the beliefs you have about the world, but also the beliefs that you have about yourself. Once a choice has been made, however, people need to find a way to reduce these feelings of discomfort. We accomplish this by justifying why our choice was the best option so we can believe that we made the right decision. Has generally been used with at-risk women, and outside of the school setting. This approach intersects nicely with models of interactive and student-centered learning as well as fitting with the principles of developing media literacy, making it a good fit for the school setting. Dissonance theory revolutionized social psychology by emphasizing the role of cognition in social behavior.

Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and behavior in harmony and avoid disharmony . If John keeps thinking about how miserable he is, it is going to be a very long four years. As an alternative to this misery, John can change his beliefs or attitudes.

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