While cognitive dissonance occurs solely within the individual, that is not to say that other’s are not aware of it and won’t capitalize off it. Dissonance can be a powerful tool of persuasion, and many industries use this to their advantage. By creating and exploiting dissonance, advertisers will offer a product or solution to remedy this discomfort, and it is likely that it will be adopted by the receiver. However, as noted by Gass and Seiter (2003), if too much dissonance is created, the receiver may simply balance the disparity by changing their attitudes to dislike you.
The theory of cognitive dissonance is a widely accepted theory that has significant scholarly works published in its support. In terms of consistency, cognitive dissonance goes hand in hand with many of the communication field’s most accepted intrapersonal theories. For instance, cognitive dissonance goes hand in hand with uncertainty reduction theory because uncertainty is a form of dissonance, and also uncomfortable. Cognitive dissonance is built upon the assumption that humans work to minimize discomfort, which is consistent across other intrapersonal theories.
One of the major t...
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...he feeling of discomfort is as inherent to the human psyche as our need for comfort. Because of this, we are always looking to balance the discrepancies between our actions and beliefs. Changing an action is hard, but not impossible. But persuading someone to change their belief is even more difficult. Knowing this, I think it would take much more than just the exploitation of dissonance to change one’s beliefs.
Although dissonance is uncomfortable, I would argue that it is necessary for growth. In Nancy’s scenario, had she stayed at her old position, the dissonance caused by her differing beliefs would have plagued her for the rest of her career. Instead, she was able to finally align her personal beliefs with those shared by her employer. She wrote speeches she believed in and became happier, which I think shows growth that cannot simply be measured by her salary.
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