What is Cognitive Dissonance Theory?


This video describes Cognitive Dissonance Theory. Cognitive Dissonance Theory was developed by a researcher named Leon Festinger in the 1950’s. Cognitive dissonance occurs when someone’s beliefs are different from their actions. Cognitive dissonance leads to discomfort and, in theory, to change in beliefs and/or behavior. The Principle of Cognitive Consistency states that individuals are sensitive to cognitive dissonance. The level of cognitive dissonance is based on how strongly beliefs are held. There are a few ways to alleviate cognitive dissonance including changing the behavior, changing the belief, or changing both. In some situations, individuals may be unwilling or unable to change a belief or action, so the cognitive dissonance remains along with the corresponding discomfort, tension, or anxiety. Cognitive dissonance is a common phenomenon observed in therapeutic settings.
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  1. Cognitive dissonance theory reminds me of someone who is a hypocrite. They believe and teach you one thing but they behave differently. That example of the person being unfaithful and changing their belief is crazy

  2. Cognitive dissonance kind of reminds me of the Freudian theory of reaction formation. Both deal with opposing beliefs and actions that a person holds and performs.

  3. I enjoy the examples given with each explanation, they are extremely helpful in breaking down the concepts to a level of understanding that is appreciated.

  4. I can see how strength and duration are the significant factors in the motivation for change with cognitive dissonance..

  5. Dr. Grande, do you think shame is a big motivator to change either the belief or action or both?

  6. I am wondering if overcompensation is another form of dealing with cognitive dissonance because I see it happen too. Like for example someone who does something wrong but then they do something good for the person they wronged too. So they still continue to hold the belief that what they're doing is wrong and still keep doing the wrong action, but they justify it through the overcompensating action to give themselves an excuse.

  7. Also people driven by a sexual, financial, any reward may view that reward as worth it over changing their behavior to fall in line with how they feel about their actions. The discomfort is worth it to gain the ill gotten reward of their behavior. We can see this in addictions. The reward (getting high, taking away withdrawal) is stronger then the tension they feel

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