If you’ve ever made a decision despite the fact it goes against your values and beliefs, and you then felt stress, regret or turmoil, you’ve experienced cognitive dissonance. Learn how to cope with those difficult moments and how to better manage your response. The term “cognitive dissonance” was first coined by psychologist Leon Festinger in his 1957 book, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance.

  • A person who cares about their health might be disturbed to learn that sitting for long periods during the day is linked to a shortened lifespan.
  • In the book, Festinger argued that humans strive to live a life in harmony — where their belief systems align with their actions.
  • Cognitive dissonance can even influence how people feel about and view themselves, leading to negative feelings of self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Dr. Vohs discusses the topic as it relates to supporters of Former President Donald Trump justifying one of his controversial tweets in 2019.

Whether we realize it or not, we have all experienced cognitive dissonance. It is a universal human affliction that transcends culture, race, nationality, and religion. But when it comes to cognitive dissonance, it’s best to resolve it through really taking the time to clarify.

What is Cognitive Dissonance?

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. Therefore, the brain is an inference machine that attempts to actively predict and explain its sensations.

You can do all the coping and meditation and self-care you can handle, but if you don’t figure out cognitive dissonance, you’re not going to feel good. There is no substitute for integrity when it comes to peace of mind. Cognitive dissonance is when we have a gap between what we believe is right and what we are doing.

How To Reduce Dissonance After An Energy Vampire Relationship

Again, we are not supposed to enjoy existing in a place where our beliefs and behaviors or lifestyles are in disharmony, and when we feel unable to fix that problem, we are likely to become depressed, anxious, or despondent. Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. People tend to seek consistency in their attitudes and perceptions, so this conflict causes unpleasant feelings of unease or discomfort.

  • Consider if you’re working in a job you hate, suggests Michele Leno, PhD, a Michigan-based licensed psychologist and founder of DML Psychological Services.
  • Mismatches between your beliefs and actions can lead to feelings of discomfort (and, sometimes, coping choices that have negative impacts), but such feelings can also sometimes lead to change and growth.
  • Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, dietary supplement, exercise, or other health program.
  • It occurs in all of us frequently, not just when planning to diet and justifying a doughnut with a delayed diet start.
  • Cognitive dissonance can result in a desire for change in an effort to reduce mental discomfort.
  • Adjusting your behavior or your expectations of your friends might help lessen conflict down the line.

Cognitive dissonance leads to the motivation to reduce the dissonance (Festinger, 1957). The stronger the discrepancy between thoughts, the greater the motivation to reduce it (Festinger, 1957). Talkiatry offers online psychiatry and therapy to adults and children with insurance with unlimited messaging between appointments. And sometimes reducing the dissonance can be as easy as reframing your thinking. Expectations of the bitterness and pungency of the oil were found to differ depending upon the regional information provided about the oil.

Justify Our Behavior

It occurs in all of us frequently, not just when planning to diet and justifying a doughnut with a delayed diet start. Enhance wellbeing with these free, science-based treatment for cognitive dissonance exercises that draw on the latest insights from positive psychology. Koller and Salzberger (2007) developed an eight-item consumer behavior scale.

  • 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.
  • Maybe you always expect your friends to be prompt when you have dinner plans, but you’re usually 10 minutes late yourself.
  • “You’re more likely to feel guilty if you’re doing something that goes against your values,” notes Dr. Prewitt.
  • Resolving cognitive dissonance is essential to living a life of purpose, meaning, joy, and growth.
  • However, when beliefs and actions that are important to us conflict, we experience a greater level of psychological discomfort.