Essay on Cognitive Dissonance

Essay on Cognitive Dissonance

Length: 2036 words (5.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Cognitive Dissonance

How do human beings make decisions? What triggers a person to take
action at any given point? These are all questions that I will attempt to answer
with my theoretical research into Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive
dissonance, as well as many of the other related theories. We often do not
realize the psychological events that take place in our everyday lives. It is
important to take notice of theories, such as the balance theory, the congruency
theory and the cognitive dissonance theory so that one's self-persuasion occurs
knowingly. As psychologist and theorist gain a better understanding of
Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory manipulation could occur more easily
than it already does in today's society.
Leon Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory is very closely related to
many of the consistency theories. The first of the major consistency theories,
the balance theory, was proposed by Fritz Heider (1946, 1958) and was later
revised by Theodore Newcomb (1953) (Larson, 1995). Heider and Newcomb's theory
was mostly looking at the interaction between two people (interpersonally) and
the conflicts that arose between them. When two people have conflicting opinions
or tension is felt between another person, it is more likely persuasion will
occur. Because if no tension was felt between the two parties, or there were no
conflicting opinions there would be no need to persuade each other. If you think
about it persuasion occurs only because there is tension between two facts,
ideas or people.
     Charles Larson writes in his book, Persuasion, Reception and
Responsibility, “another approach to the consistency theory is congruency theory,
by Charles Osgood and Percy Tennenbaum (1955)” (p.82). This theory suggest that
we want to have balance in our lives and there is a systematic way to
numerically figure it out. When two attitudes collide we must strive to strike a
balance between the two attitudes. The balance varies depending on the intensity
we feel about each attitude and our pre-disposed positions concerning the
attitude. We either have a favorable , neutral or unfavorable opinion concerning
ideas. When two attitudes collide we will attempt to downgrade the favorable
position and upgrade the unfavorable position so that we feel a balance. For
example, suppose someone thought of Mel Gibson as a good role m...

... middle of paper ...

...s Niccorrest
Gum. Apparently no matter how much dissonance is felt and to what degree it is
felt does not matter. Therefore, it may not be possible to get rid of dissonance
or even to reduce it materially by changing one's behavior or feeling.
     The research I have conducted supports my claim that it is nearly
impossible to change the actions of smokers even though massive amounts of
cognitive dissonance are felt. I believe that many of the people being observed
reduced the overall magnitude of dissonance by adding new cognitive elements. No
matter how much dissonance is felt, the smoker will always find elements that
are consonant (agreeable) with the fact of smoking. The will power of
individuals feeling as though they have to have smoking in their everyday lives
is, often times, far to powerful for dissonance to overcome. Perhaps research
such as mine can be useful to further research into the area of dissonance and
the use of tobacco. Much work still needs to be done in this area. We see so
many people dying from lung cancer. Something must be done. Perhaps looking at
effective methods of the use of cognitive dissonance can be helpful in this

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Actions Caused by Cognitive Dissonance

- “If I chose to do it or say it, I must believe in it.” asserts the psychologist Leon Festinger (as cited in Psychology: Eighth Edition in Modules, 2007, p.731). When we become aware that our actions contradict our attitudes, we tend to revise our attitudes. This statement fits Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory that asserts that we act to reduce discomfort or dissonance, an unpleasant tension, we experience when two of our thoughts or cognitions are inconsistent. Mkimmie, et al. (2003) investigated the impact of social support on cognitive dissonance arousal in their experiment, “I’m a Hypocrite, but So Is Everyone Else: Group Support and the Reduction of Cognitive Dissonance.” The psyc...   [tags: Cognitive Dissonance, psychology, ]

Powerful Essays
915 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on Cognitive Dissonance In Culture

- Leon Festinger states that cognitive dissonance is the discomfort people feel when two cognitions such as beliefs, attitudes, or their behavior conflict with their conception of themselves. When dissonance arises people deal with it by changing the behavior, changing the thought, or adding a thought (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, & Sommers, 2017). Cognitive dissonance is supported on a neurological level. However, arises and is treated differently depending on the culture. We will venture into how cognitive dissonance is dealt with across cultures through post-choice dissonance, individual vs....   [tags: Cognitive dissonance, Individualism, Cognition]

Powerful Essays
871 words (2.5 pages)

Essay On Cognitive Dissonance

- 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 dishar...   [tags: Cognitive dissonance, Cognition]

Powerful Essays
995 words (2.8 pages)

Essay On Cognitive Dissonance

- Cognitive Dissonance Cognitive dissonance is a theory defined as “the discomfort people feel when two cognitions (beliefs, attitudes) conflict, or when they behave in ways that are inconsistent with their conception of themselves” (Aronson, 2016, pg. 158). This, in turn, causes discomfort that can be difficult to ease. Some basic ways to reduce cognitive dissonance are: Realign our behavior with the dissonant condition, justify our behavior by changing one of the dissonant behaviors, justify our behavior by adding additional cognitions....   [tags: Cognition, Cognitive dissonance, Psychology]

Powerful Essays
901 words (2.6 pages)

Essay On Cognitive Dissonance

- Cognitive dissonance is a theory presented by Leon Festinger’s in 1957. This theory suggested that we have an inner drive to hold our attitudes and beliefs in harmony. When we have two inconsistent cognitions this creates dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is physically uncomfortable to experience. There’s some negative physical tension that you feel any time you recognize two inconsistent thoughts or realize that you’ve done something through your behavior that contradicts you true attitudes and beliefs....   [tags: Cognitive dissonance, Cognition, Consistency]

Powerful Essays
1201 words (3.4 pages)

Validity Of Cognitive Dissonance Essay

- The validity of cognitive dissonance is the fact that we are faced with it every day, by making a decision or solving a problem using our subjective values which include beliefs, opinions, attitudes, etc. An attitude describes the positive or negative feelings we have toward people, things, or ideas. As humans, what we do to make these decisions and solve these problems don't always line up, causing inconsistency. This means our beliefs go one way, and our behavior goes in the opposite direction....   [tags: Cognitive dissonance, Scientific method, Cognition]

Powerful Essays
938 words (2.7 pages)

The Theory Of Cognitive Dissonance Essays

- Introduction Social Psychologists have discovered that most people believe that they are well behaved, more competent, above average, and better at things than others. But if this is to be true, what happens when we behave in ways that are inconsistent with the conception of ourselves. This is called the theory of cognitive dissonance. According to the textbook cognitive dissonance is “the discomfort that people feel when two cognitions (beliefs, attitudes) conflict, or when they behave in ways that are inconsistent with their conception of themselves (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, Sommers, 2013, pg.158)....   [tags: Cognitive dissonance, Cognition, Elliot Aronson]

Powerful Essays
1949 words (5.6 pages)

Validity Of Cognitive Dissonance Essay

- “I didn't want to do it..but then I did it”. A common phrase spoken by many who have experience cognitive dissonance. The Cognitive Dissonance theory deals with small occurrences that happen everyday, but for help with breaking down this theory, extreme examples help to explain the theory in better detail. In the movie Mean Girls, the plastics are evil & but their approval is what Cady desires which define her two conflicting beliefs. When she gets closer to them and acts like them, she tries to justify her action by saying she is just “spying” on them, this is said to reduce her cognitive dissonance, which in fact, she is turning into them....   [tags: Cognitive dissonance, When Prophecy Fails]

Powerful Essays
1566 words (4.5 pages)

Importance Of Cognitive Dissonance Essay

- Cognitive dissonance is widely regarded as a post decision theory, meaning that it’s constructs are enacted when individuals attempt to persuade themselves after a decision or course of action has already been carried out (Dainton & Zelley, 2015). This persuasion only occurs when the individual must confront the inconsistency between their actions and beliefs. Because this confrontation occurs within the individual, Cognitive Dissonance Theory is a psychological perspective. This means that different psychological variables will affect the behavior of the individual....   [tags: Cognitive dissonance, Cognition, Social psychology]

Powerful Essays
998 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Cognitive Dissonance

- Cognitive dissonance can be described as the feeling of discomfort resulting from holding two conflicting beliefs. It can also be said to be the mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. A well-known psychologist Leon Festinger (1919–89), introduced this concept in the late 1950s where he proved that, when confronted with challenging new information; most people are observed to preserve their current understanding of the world by rejecting or avoiding the new information or by convincing themselves that no conflict really exists in one way or the other (Festinger, 04)....   [tags: Irrational Thoughts, Substance Abusers]

Powerful Essays
1619 words (4.6 pages)