Significance Of Cognitive Dissonance Theory

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Cognitive dissonance theory by Leon Festinger (1957) has provided me with a theoretical orientation that has assisted me in understanding the “psychological discomfort” experienced when some beliefs are incongruent with behaviors. As I understand it from my readings, cognitive dissonance refers to any situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. This conflict produces feelings of discomfort leading to attempts to change or modify the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors involved in order to reduce the discomfort and to restore balance, which suggests that people, in general, have an inner drive or need to have all their attitudes and beliefs in harmony and, thus, avoid disharmony, i.e., dissonance. In other words, people seek…show more content…
I surmise from the readings that decades of research, debate, and concept refinement have made cognitive dissonance one of the most widely accepted ideas in Social Psychology. The significance that cognitive dissonance has in our life is highlighted by reactions that are internal processes, which respond to external experiences that we face. And, when this external pressure that emerges from social interactions differs from our own “private opinion,” then dissonance and cognitive inconsistency prevails. Moreover, cognitive dissonance can be viewed as a motivational element in which people seek to implement dissonance-reduction through a number of ways that include shifting one’s thinking so that the behavior can be aligned with the belief and by reducing the conflicting cognition. Thus, cognitive dissonance helps us to understand the external and internal process of the individual in a group setting or in intrapersonal dynamic. It can help explain and make s sense of a wide range of ordinary and even extraordinary events in people social
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