What Is Cognitive Dissonance? Definition and Examples

Proulx and Inzlicht (2012), for instance, mischievously suggest disanxiousuncertlibrium as a term for the state of cognitive dissonance, while Harmon-Jones et al. (2009) suggest keeping the term dissonance for the state and refer to cognitive discrepancy for the triggering situation. A person who feels defensive or unhappy might consider the role cognitive dissonance might play in these feelings. If they are part of a wider problem that is causing distress, people may benefit from speaking with a therapist. The internal discomfort and tension of cognitive dissonance could contribute to stress or unhappiness.

The magnitude of dissonance depends on the number and importance of cognitions that the person experiences a consonance or dissonance with. Its calculation is summarised in the mathematical expression below (Festinger, 1962). The total tension of a dissonance is the proportion of the inconsistent cognitions to the consistent cognitions that one has, each weighted by its importance. Research seems to suggest that people from non-Western cultures do experience cognitive dissonance, but that the contexts that lead to feelings of dissonance might differ depending on cultural norms and values.

Postdecision changes in the desirability of alternatives

In our opinion, we consider that more standardization could permit to examine such specific hypotheses and to investigate more precisely the effects. To achieve this goal, and reduce variation between studies, the standardization of the induction would also require moving away from tasks grounded in social background, temporal, or cultural references. Also, to capture fine variations with lower noise and to be able to modelize the process, these requirements suggest movement toward lower level processes. It could require to look at the very minimal prerequisite for CDT, that is to manipulate inconsistency while the other socially contextualized variables are reduced to their strict minimal (e.g., commitment). Finally, in accordance with the operationalization issue, one of the first thing to assess is probably inconsistency, which could permit more relevant comparisons between studies and help to correct local or individual biases. The assessment of additional parameters that could influence the CDS and its regulation (e.g., self-involvement) may also facilitate the investigations and ultimately permit to estimate the independent effects due to each of these variables.

  • ] and if the decision was close then the effects of cognitive dissonance should be greater.
  • The more dissonance we experience, the more we are motivated to find a way to reduce it.
  • In sociology the theory was stated mostly in terms of ‘status equilibrium’ and ‘status crystallization’ (Lenski 1961, 1964).
  • The affective nature of the CDS is another area that could be enlighten if more data were available and ready to be aggregated.

In some cases the signal accurately cued the taste solution being presented, but in other cases the cue was misleading, e.g. a signal for a bitter solution was given, but a sweet solution was presented. Their results showed that sweet solutions that disconfirmed a taste expectation were rated less intense than sweet solutions that confirmed a taste expectancy. However, bitter solutions https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/cognitive-dissonance-treatment-in-sober-living/ that disconfirmed an expectation were rated more intense. In both cases, disconfirmed expectations resulted in a more negative experience (less sweet or more bitter). The number of variations within this approach to self-evaluation regulation is also substantial. Holding beliefs that are logically or ‘psychologically’ inconsistent, i.e., dissonant, with one another is uncomfortable.

Dissonance Approaches

Once again, it can be challenging to deduce such a relationship because two elements may be indirectly linked. Therefore, researchers have to consider or make a reference to other cognitions before deriving a conclusion (Festinger, 1962). One early study of the effects of information on taste experience was conducted by Carlsmith and Aronson (1963). These researchers presented a series of sweet or bitter solutions to consumers who evaluated them for their intensity. Before presenting each, they gave a signal to indicate that either a bitter or sweet stimulus would be presented.

cognitive dissonance theory

We then review the ways it has been operationalized and we present the shortcomings of the actual paradigms. To acquire a better understanding of the theory, we advocate a stronger focus on the nature and consequences of the cognitive dissonance state itself. Next, we emphasize the actual lack of standardization, both in the https://ecosoberhouse.com/ ways to induce cognitive dissonance and to assess it, which impairs the comparability of the results. Last, in addition to reviewing these limits, we suggest new ways to improve the methodology and we conclude on the importance for the field of psychology to take advantage of these important challenges to go forwards.