Cognitive Dissonance Theory an overview

They found that attitude change occurred only in the low-justification condition where the confederate believed the lie. This result and others have been interpreted as indicating that dissonance-related attitude change occurs only when individuals feel personally responsible for producing an aversive consequence. The new look, or aversive consequences, revision of cognitive dissonance theory was widely accepted. Cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) is often considered to be one of the most influential theories in social psychology.

What does cognitive dissonance help us to understand better?

Some Cognitive Dissonance Can Help Us Grow

Recognizing when your beliefs and behaviors are in conflict — or recognizing when two beliefs seem to oppose one another — can help you parse out and better understand your values and what you stand for.

It is possible to resolve cognitive dissonance by either changing one’s behavior or changing one’s beliefs so they are consistent with each other. Negative consequences of cognitive dissonance reduction include procrastination or acting seemingly contrary to our values and beliefs. However, it can be beneficial to remind ourselves that it exists as a psychological safety mechanism to help us perceive the world consistently and to protect the perception we have about ourselves.

Magnitude of dissonance

This situation was an actual experiment conducted by Leon Festinger. His prediction actually lined up with the results, that the members of the group would not admit defeat, but rather bolster their attempts to gain new members. Cognitive dissonance and the way we cope with it regularly affect our relationships, too, both positively and negatively. Enhance wellbeing with these free, science-based exercises that draw on the latest insights from positive psychology.

The theory behind this approach is that in order to resolve the dissonance, a person’s implicit beliefs about their body and thinness will change, reducing their desire to limit their food intake. The cognitive dissonance treatment internal discomfort and tension of cognitive dissonance could contribute to stress or unhappiness. People who experience dissonance but have no way to resolve it may also feel powerless or guilty.’s Relevant Resources

There is a considerable literature and strong theoretical base underpinning the issue of incentives for survey participation (Dillman, Smyth & Christian, 2009; Sue & Ritter, 2007). Relevant theories are social exchange theory and cognitive dissonance theory. According to social exchange theory, perceived benefits in the form of incentives to participate must outweigh the costs of participation (i.e., the time and effort to complete the survey).

  • Avoiding, delegitimizing, and limiting the impact of cognitive dissonance may result in a person not acknowledging their behavior and thus not taking steps to resolve the dissonance.
  • You start going to bed earlier and get up with enough time to work out.
  • According to the theory, inconsistency between attitude and behavior produces an unpleasant emotional state called ‘cognitive dissonance,’ and people try to reduce this undesired state by changing their attitudes.
  • Cognitive dissonance theory might suggest that since votes are an expression of preference or beliefs, even the act of voting might cause someone to defend the actions of the candidate for whom they voted,[72][self-published source?

Relationships are typically built on shared attitudes, beliefs, and values. When our friends or partners act contrary to our beliefs and values, we perceive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance theory itself suggests that if patients are investing time, money, and emotional effort in the therapy, they will be likely to work hard to reach their therapeutic goals in order to justify their efforts. We may perceive dissonance when we engage in a new behavior (e.g., when we decline an invitation to an event we usually attend in order to protect our leisure time). While this can feel uncomfortable at first, it’s helpful to reflect on the reasons behind our behavior.

Q2: What are cognitive dissonance theory examples?

We consider ourselves to be truthful, hard-working, health-conscious, and in control. But our actions don’t always line up with what we think of ourselves. Simply being more aware of how your thoughts and actions fit together can help you better understand what’s important to you, even if you don’t eliminate the dissonance.

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