Cognitive Dissonance Examples: 5 Ways It Pops Up In Everyday Life

The discomfort you experience with the conflicting cognitions creates a motivational drive to somehow reduce the dissonance. 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 most effective way to resolve cognitive dissonance is for a person to ensure that their actions are consistent with their values, or vice versa. For example, a 2019 study notes that dissonance-based interventions may be helpful for people with eating disorders.

  • It’s more common to feel discomfort and to feel like you need to resolve the dissonance when cognitions are important to you or they conflict heavily with each other.
  • They may include denying or compartmentalizing unwelcome thoughts, seeking to explain away a thought that doesn’t comport with others, or changing what one believes or one’s behavior.

“You’re more likely to feel guilty if you’re doing something that goes against your values,” notes Dr. Prewitt. Cognitive dissonance is a normal occurrence that can affect anyone. Though, the severity may vary depending on how tightly the belief is held. Values surrounding racism, sexism and religion can commonly cause tension when you discover new information that opposes how you feel, says Dr. Scott.

What is the difference between cognitive dissonance theory and balance theory?

There is no substitute for integrity when it comes to peace of mind. Cognitive dissonance is when we have a gap between what cognitive dissonance treatment we believe is right and what we are doing. You tell yourself it’s OK since you’re taking care of your health in other ways.

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It was proven that individuals tend to look for some sort of stability and dependability with their attitudes, perceptions, and thoughts. But, oftentimes, their beliefs and actions/behaviors do not match up. People fail to realize that everyone has different feelings and beliefs, which will influence how they are going to behave. The saying actions speak louder than words rings true in this case.

Challenge current beliefs

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. This can be a difficult and uncomfortable process and involves getting additional information.

cognitive dissonance treatment

You know the job is making you miserable, yet you don’t have any other options, and you can’t leave the job because you need to pay your bills. As a result of wanting to resolve the mental conflict of cognitive dissonance, people might either change their behavior or ignore information that goes against their desires and goals. For example, the smoker might either quit smoking or rationalize their smoking by saying other habits are just as dangerous. Over time, living out of integrity with our values begins to take its toll on our psychological well-being and mental health.

Coping With Cognitive Dissonance

Low risk birthing women birthing in a hospital may have to engage with higher levels of technology, intervention and pain relief than that which they expected pre-birth. Firstly, better pre-birth education for women about how painful labor is likely to be. Secondly, pre-birth education which includes a detailed explanation of the utility of pharmacological and non-pharmacological pain relief.

  • People with addiction tend to feel alone, and the one thing that makes them feel whole is to drink and take drugs.
  • There’s a certain kind of confidence that comes with being grounded in your beliefs.
  • Cognitive dissonance is the uncomfortable feeling that results from finding out new information that contradicts what is already known about a situation.

Some may draw boundaries between work and play; others may make allowances for mistakes and setbacks. For example, someone who experienced childhood abuse may not be willing to acknowledge or process the experience as it conflicts with their sense of self. On the other hand, someone might compartmentalize a wrongdoing of her own, such as loving her husband while having an affair with another man. 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.

If a voluntary experience that has cost a lot of effort turns out badly, the dissonance is reduced by redefining the experience as interesting. Participants in the control group were simply given one of the products. Because these participants did not make a decision, they did not have any dissonance to reduce.

  • The dissonance between two contradictory ideas, or between an idea and a behavior, creates discomfort.
  • Another way to cope with cognitive dissonance is to slow down when making decisions.
  • They could only overcome that dissonance by coming to believe that the tasks really were interesting and enjoyable.
  • If you want to get better at feeling, and if you want to feel peaceful, then you need to learn what to do with those gaps in your life.
  • Participants in the control group were simply given one of the products.
  • But each way of reducing dissonance requires that you recognize what feelings you have and do something about it, Curry adds.
  • A good example is the prospect of embarrassing ourselves in front of others, such as by forgetting our words during a speech.

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