To reduce this dissonance, we are motivated to try to think that the task turned out well. Because these participants did not make a decision, they did not have any dissonance to reduce. Individuals in the low-dissonance group chose between a desirable product and one rated 3 points lower on an 8-pointscale. Therapy can help patients by reflecting on and taking control of their thoughts. Sometimes when patients engage in a new, more constructive behavior, they can perceive dissonance simply because it is contrary to the way they used to act.
For example, a 2019 study notes that dissonance-based interventions may be helpful for people with eating disorders. This approach works by encouraging patients to say things or role-play behaviors that contradict their beliefs about food and body image. The 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. However, Festinger believed that all people are motivated to avoid or resolve cognitive dissonance due to the discomfort it causes. This can prompt people to adopt certain defense mechanisms when they have to confront it.
Cognitive Dissonance: How You Can Resolve It And Drive More Conversions
The intensity of the emotion might increase, however, if an individual engages in a situation with the intention of trying to resolve dissonance in a constructive way but then realizes that it will not be possible. Thus, the dissonance-reduction process is sometimes a rather dynamic process where appraisals go back and forth several times before the individual finds a state of consonance. Since these strategies imply that the individual managed to somehow resolve the situation, a full-blown negative emotion is unlikely to have evolved (or is at least unlikely to still be present). As for restructuring strategies, the individual will likely be at peace and experience a feeling of content and relaxation after employing strategies that manage to resolve dissonance without having to fundamentally change their cognitive structure. Finally, in our dissonance reduction model we assume (based on the process model of emotional regulation) that any specific reduction strategy will depend on where in the regulation process the situation is located–early or late. However, once the individual is stuck in the situation (situations resembling induced compliance, induced hypocrisy, or effort justification) avoidance is no longer available, and distraction might be too difficult to employ.
This can be a difficult decision when the choices feel equally good or equally bad. If a person finds themselves in a situation where they have to do something that they don’t agree with, they’ll experience discomfort. Since they can’t escape cognitive dissonance treatment the action, they attempt to re-establish their reasons for doing it in a way that makes the action acceptable. Learning what cognitive dissonance is, why it’s so powerful, and how to manage it can put you back in the driver’s seat.
Preventing Cognitive Dissonance in the First Place
For example, regarding belief dilemmas, Abelson (1959) posited that the more difficult the dilemma the more people would increase their level of effort to reduce inconsistencies (from denial to transcendence, i.e., seeing the big picture). Researchers focusing on induced compliance assume that dissonance reduction is a function of the importance of the dissonant cognitions (e.g., Hardyck and Kardush, 1968; Leippe and Eisenstadt, 1999). For unimportant cognitions, simply forgetting about it would be the predicted outcome.
- This is called the spreading-of-alternatives effect and is thought to shield against post-decisional regret (Brehm, 1956).
- The participants felt like hypocrites — but their intention to take the positive action increased.
- That is why you tend to experience Jekyll and Hyde behavior from them to disorient you and make you walk on eggshells – because they are shifting between different identities to get their needs met from other people.
- Negative consequences of cognitive dissonance reduction include procrastination or acting seemingly contrary to our values and beliefs.
- “Then ask yourself why you behaved as you behaved.” This can help you see how you got into the situation and hopefully you can see a way to resolve it.
To live an authentic life, you need to be able to recognize when you’re compensating for incongruence. From there, you can make positive changes that help you live according to your true values. Before they went on stage, they were told to think of a time when they didn’t exhibit that behavior. The participants felt like hypocrites — but their intention to take the positive action increased. As we mentioned earlier, many people know that smoking is harmful to their health — yet they continue to do it. When we say “yes” to a choice, whether it’s as small as what to order for lunch or as big as where to live, we have to say “no” to something else.
Dissonance Reduction Strategies and Motivations: Current Accounts
But each way of reducing dissonance requires that you recognize what feelings you have and do something about it, Curry adds. The theory is based on the idea that two cognitions can be relevant or irrelevant to each other (Festinger, 1957). Such cognitions can be about behaviors, perceptions, attitudes, emotions, and beliefs.
In the secondary reduction stage (see right-hand side of Figure 1), the individual has moved past the initial negative arousal and engages in more elaborate thinking about the situation. Some goals are long term (e.g., having a good relationship with family members), while other goals are short term (e.g., standing up for oneself in a disagreement with a stranger). When choosing to consider long-term goals in a dissonant situation, we argue, similar to Kelman and Baron (1968) and Sheppes (2014), that the individual is more likely to engage in elaborate strategies (e.g., reappraisal in the form of transcendence). When considering short-term goals in the same, however, we argue that the individual might be more likely to simply use distraction or try to escape the situation. In order to comply with long-term motivational goals, we hold that the individual will have to take cognitive capacity into account.
Acquire new information that outweighs the dissonant beliefs.
Try to rationalize your irreverent and irrational actions by inventing implausible (and sometimes ridiculous) excuses. Mean (and standard deviation) for pre- and post-attitude, and pre- and post-importance of attitude in the different dissonance-reduction https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/alcohol-and-dopamine-how-does-it-affect-your-brain/ strategies. Mean (and standard deviation) for different negative emotion factors, all negative emotions, and all positive emotions in the different groups. It can be explained as the perception of incompatibility between two understandings.
- For instance, an individual might feel more guilt after violating a dearly held attitude, and might try harder to make amends for the violation, when this occurs in front of people that hold the same attitude (vs. in front of people that do not care about the attitude).
- Finally, many of the studies supporting the theory of cognitive dissonance have low ecological validity.
- Once a reduction strategy is implemented, the individual’s response will feed back into the initial interpretation of the situation and a new evaluation will take place.
- Introverts, on the other hand, experienced increased dissonance discomfort and were more likely to change their attitude to match the majority of others in the experiment.
In this way, he would be decreasing the importance of dissonant cognition (smoking is bad for one’s health). This is probably because dissonance would be caused if we spent a great effort to achieve something and then evaluated it negatively. Participants in the high-dissonance condition chose between a highly desirable product and one rated just 1 point lower on the 8-point scale. After reading the reports about the various products, individuals rated the products again. Brehm (1956) was the first to investigate the relationship between dissonance and decision-making. Being paid only $1 is not sufficient incentive for lying and so those who were paid $1 experienced dissonance.
Signs of Decision Fatigue and How To Cope
Every time Arun enjoys a bout of drinking, “I like drinking” lands a punch on “Drinking is bad for me”. Every time someone warns Arun of the dangers of drinking or he reads a news article on ill effects of drinking, “Drinking is bad for me” smashes a blow on “I like drinking”… and so on. On one hand, he knew he liked drinking, but, on the other, he began to realize that it could possibly have adverse effects on his health. Also, shut them off from available options to reduce post-choice regret and analyze survey feedback to learn about the source of their buyer’s remorse.