A General Model of Dissonance Reduction: Unifying Past Accounts via an Emotion Regulation Perspective

In order to explain this phenomenon, psychologist Leon Festinger presented the idea of cognitive dissonance. He explained that in order to maintain our sense of identity, we’re motivated to reduce inconsistencies in our self-image. Cognitive dissonance is a little different than its evil twin, hypocrisy.

Investment psychology: What is cognitive dissonance and how to reduce its impact? – MintGenie

Investment psychology: What is cognitive dissonance and how to reduce its impact?.

Posted: Wed, 29 Mar 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

This makes it difficult for them to change their situation until they learn how to trust themselves again. Techniques such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing(EMDR)Therapy and Tapping can help enormously. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance. All of those routes help you get back to a mental state without conflict, where you feel like your beliefs, values, and actions are all in harmony.

What causes cognitive dissonance?

There’s a constant boxing match going on in the mind of an open-minded person. If you believe something and I tell you that your belief is unfounded and present you with my reasons, you’ll bring up reasons that you think justify your belief. If I challenge those reasons too, then the crutches your belief will shake, a boxing match will commence in your mind.

  • Cognitive dissonance occurs when a person holds two related but contradictory cognitions, or thoughts.
  • Cognitive dissonance theory, proposed by Festinger, focuses on the discomfort felt when holding conflicting beliefs or attitudes, leading individuals to seek consistency.

This dissonance varies upon the magnitude of that particular situation― if it is something petty or insignificant, we don’t bother thinking too much about our dissonance, and we quickly reduce it, ignore it, and move on. If the cognitions (thoughts, beliefs) and actions are important for us, then we experience a greater level of psychological discomfort. For instance, something as small as having a wonderful opinion about a particular sweet first and then liking another one better might not cause a lot of cognitive dissonance, as you may change your belief about the one sweet being better than the rest quite easily.

Change your beliefs

Lastly, in the selective-exposure paradigm, (based on the notion that people seek desirable outcomes, and avoid undesirable ones; Mills, 1999) people are asked to browse through newspapers about different topics. The prediction is that people will attend more to news that reinforces their pre-existing opinions, and they will try to avoid contradictory information, in order to avoid potential belief dilemmas (i.e., cognitive dissonance, see Table 1). In essence, the present theoretical paper demonstrates that previous accounts of how people use dissonance-reduction strategies are bound to specific cases and methodological constraints. We therefore proposed a (working) dissonance-reduction model that transcends specific experimental paradigms and reduction strategies. Specifically, we found that a wider theoretical perspective and a more pluralistic approach to research design results in a richer understanding of the psychological phenomena of dissonance reduction. Applying the suggested emotion-regulation framework on dissonance research may hopefully open up new avenues of inquiry and help bring dissonance theory into the second decade of the twenty-first century.

  • The full text can be requested from the authors free of charge via the ResearchGate website.
  • Cognitive dissonance occurs when you try to hold two opposing thoughts at once, creating stress, anxiety, and indecision.
  • In a dissonance context, this could explain how, over time, feedback from the social environment alters the individual’s thoughts and emotions in different situations–eventually changing habitual responses and giving rise to new ways of reducing dissonance.
  • If you took the job you would miss your loved ones; if you turned the job down, you would pine for the beautiful streams, mountains, and valleys.
  • We generally try to eliminate this dissonance by taking a new, consonant action or by dismissing the incongruent information.
  • Read on to learn more about cognitive dissonance, including examples, signs a person might be experiencing it, causes, and how to resolve it.

Lastly, some individuals experienced very low overall levels of emotions (see Table 3). Thus, focusing simply on the total mean score would conduce to misrepresentation of how individuals experienced the dissonant situation. The dissonance experience does not seem to be characterized by one specific emotion, affective state, or pattern of emotions–since people vary in their interpretation and subsequent emotional reaction.

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Everyone has a different level of tolerance for dissonance and it really can’t be measured objectively. For most people, dissonance feels uncomfortable, like a nagging feeling that something isn’t right, but it doesn’t create a huge problem in your life. Others may feel the need to change something to resolve their nagging discomfort.

  • I use an integrated approach and holistic therapies to help clients navigate life transitions, overcome health challenges and enjoy personal growth.
  • Since guilt usually has a corrective response, the individual might try to make amends for the transgressions in these cases (e.g., behavioral change).
  • A good example is the prospect of embarrassing ourselves in front of others, such as by forgetting our words during a speech.
  • American psychologist Leon Festinger first developed the concept in the 1950s.

If you are in an energy-vampire-relationship, you need strategies to protect yourself. Once you are free from your energy vampire, you need to reduce dissonance in order to begin healing. There has been a great deal of research into cognitive dissonance, providing some interesting and sometimes cognitive dissonance treatment unexpected findings. If a voluntary experience that has cost a lot of effort turns out badly, the dissonance is reduced by redefining the experience as interesting. If we put effort into a task that we have chosen to carry out, and the task turns out badly, we experience dissonance.

Since fear and anxiety are avoidance motivated emotions, these should be typical types of responses (LaBar, 2016). If the dissonance-reduction strategy is implemented successfully, the subsequent emotional experience will likely be characterized by relief (e.g., after avoiding an irrevocable decision). Interestingly, Festinger (1957) himself entertained the idea that some individuals might be so overwhelmed by the dissonance https://ecosoberhouse.com/ arousal that they would have difficulties in finding a proper reduction strategy. If dissonance, discomfort, or inconsistency of any kind is experienced, we tend to feel psychological discomfort and strive hard to reduce it, or to avoid it altogether. Based on the process model, more recent research has attempted to understand under which circumstances people choose one emotion-regulation strategy over another.

Notice that dissonance theory does not state that these modes of dissonance reduction will actually work, only that individuals who are in a state of cognitive dissonance will take steps to reduce the extent of their dissonance. On a big-picture level, we have cognitive dissonance to thank for huge advancements within society. Dr. Noulas says that successes in women’s rights, environmental rights, and reducing child marriages are examples of positive change that have resulted from cognitive dissonance. Those changes were due to individuals recognizing contradictions between how people viewed women, the environment, and whether or not child marriage was right and how we acted as a society (or allowed others to act).

A central assumption of this general model is the pluralistic view on emotional reactions to cognitive dissonance and the subsequent reduction process. In other words, people can react vastly different to the same dissonant situation and then resolve the situation in several different ways. If a broader emotion-regulation conceptualization of the dissonance-reduction process is of any use at all, any given dissonance experiment should certainly provide some hints. Another obvious indication of the usefulness would be the detection of several different dissonance-reduction strategies in the same situation. In this section, we discuss and illustrate how methodological decisions (e.g., experimental set-up and data-analyses) can influence which theoretical conclusions researchers draw from dissonance studies. If the individual’s experience is dominated by fear and anxiety (also high-arousal negative emotions), avoidance, escape, or distraction are likely dissonance-reduction strategies.

how to reduce cognitive dissonance

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