Video:Overview of Cognitive Dissonancewith Jennifer D'Amore
Cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort created when a person holds two conflicting beliefs. Here's a video giving more detail on the meaning of cognitive dissonance.See Transcript
Transcript:Overview of Cognitive Dissonance
Hi, I'm Jen D'Amore for About.com, and this video is all about cognitive dissonance as explained by Kendra Cherry on About.com's Psychology site.
Definition of Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive dissonance theory was introduced by Leon Festinger in 1956. It is the feeling of discomfort we feel from holding two conflicting beliefs, or when there is a conflict between our beliefs and behaviors. It can occur in many areas of life and varies in intensity based on how integral those beliefs are to defining our self identity. When we experience cognitive dissonance, we naturally make changes to attempt to reduce it or eliminate it. Three strategies used to do so are: focusing on more supportive beliefs that outweigh the dissonant belief or behavior, reducing the importance of the conflicting belief, and changing the conflicting belief so that it is consistent with other beliefs or behaviors.
Example of Cognitive Dissonance
Let's say you grow up with the self-identity of being an athlete, but later in life, you're not as active and gain a lot of weight, where you neither look nor feel like an athlete, but your identity is still tied to being one. That conflict between your belief about yourself and your actual physical state creates cognitive dissonance. To counter this, you can either change your beliefs about yourself and choose a new self-identity, such as being a musician, or change your behavior to become more physically active and eventually regain your athletic abilities. Both will lessen the cognitive dissonance that's been causing you stress. Understanding cognitive dissonance can help us to understand many underlying causes of our stress and can improve our ability make decisions. Having a clear understanding of the strength of our beliefs can help us make faster accurate choices that minimize experiencing cognitive dissonance.
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