Psychology of Personality

Cognitive dissonance - Festinger's theory, examples, concept

Cognitive dissonance is a negative state,Which is observed in individuals mental discomfort caused by confrontation in their minds of conflicting ideas, values, knowledge, worldviews, ideas, beliefs, behavioral attitudes or reactions of an emotional nature.
The concept of cognitive dissonance was firstProposed by L. Festingerom, an expert in the field of psychology of management of thinking. In his research in the analysis of the worldview of the individual, he was based on the principles of equilibrium. His theory, he began with the postulate that individuals are focused on a certain coherence as a necessary internal state. When there are contradictions among individuals between the baggage of knowledge and actions, they seek to somehow explain this contradiction, and as a result represent it as "non-contradiction" with the aim of achieving a sense of inner cognitive coherence.

Causes of cognitive dissonance

There are the following factors that cause a state of cognitive dissonance, as a result of which individuals often experience internal dissatisfaction:
- logical inconsistency;
- the dissimilarity of the opinion of one person with the generally accepted;
- unwillingness to follow the norms of culture, settled in a certain territory, where traditions are at times guided more than by legislation;
- the conflict of experience already experienced with a similar new situation.
Cognitive personality dissonance arisesDue to the inadequacy of the two cognitions of the individual. Personality, having information on some problem, is forced to ignore them when making a decision and as a result, there is a discrepancy or dissonance between the individual's ideas and his real actions. Because of this behavior, there is a change in certain representations of the individual. Such a change is justified, based on the vital necessity of man, to maintain the consistency of one's own knowledge.
That is why humanity is ready to justifyOwn delusions, because an individual who has committed a misconduct is inclined to seek excuses for himself in his thoughts, while gradually shifting his own attitudes about what happened in the direction that what happened in reality is not so scary. In this way, the individual "manages" his own thinking in order to minimize confrontation within himself.
The modern theory of cognitive dissonance Festinger reveals its purpose in studying and interpreting the contradictions that arise, both in individual human individuals and in the collective of people.
For a certain period of timeAcquires a certain amount of life experience, but overcoming the time limit, it must function according to the circumstances in which it exists, contrary to the knowledge gained. This will cause psychological discomfort. And to alleviate this discomfort the person has to look for a compromise.
Cognitive dissonance in psychology is an attemptExplain the motivation of human actions, their actions in the diversity of everyday situations. And emotions are the main motive for appropriate behavior and actions.
In the concept of cognitive dissonance, knowledgeLogically contradictory attributed to the status of motivation, which is designed to ensure the eradication of the incipient feeling of discomfort when confronted with inconsistencies due to the transformation of existing knowledge or social regulations.
The author of the theory of cognitive dissonance L. Festinger argued that this condition is the strongest motivation. According to the classical formulation of L. Festinger, the dissonance of cognitions is a discrepancy between thoughts, attitudes, information, etc., while the denial of one concept proceeds from the existence of another.
The concept of cognitive dissonance characterizes the methods of eliminating or smoothing such contradictions and demonstrates how an individual does it in typical cases.
Cognitive dissonance - examples from life: The Institute received two individuals, one of whom was a medalist, and the second - a troika. Naturally, the teaching staff expects excellent knowledge from the medalist, and from the Troynik nothing is expected. Dissonance occurs when such a triune answers more competently, more fully and fully on the question, than the medalist.

Theory of cognitive dissonance

Most motivational theories for the first timeAre found in the works of ancient philosophers. Today there are such theories already several dozen. In modern psychological doctrines of motivation, claiming to explain human behavior, the cognitive approach to the motivational sphere of the personality is prevailing today, in the direction of which phenomena related to the understanding and knowledge of the individual have special significance. The main postulate of the authors of cognitive concepts was the view that the behavioral reactions of subjects direct knowledge, judgments, attitudes, ideas, views about what is happening in the world, opinions about the causes and their consequences. Knowledge is not a simple collection of data. Personal representations of the world predetermine, design future behavior. Everything that an individual does and how he does is not so much dependent on fixed needs, deep desires and eternal desires, as on the relatively changeable notions of reality.
Cognitive dissonance in psychology is a conditionDiscomfort of the personality psyche, provoked by the confrontation of conflicting ideas in his mind. Socio-psychological cognition is designed to explain changes in cognitions (opinions, attitudes, attitudes) as a method of eliminating logical conflict situations.
Cognitive dissonance of the personality is characterized by a specific feature, which consists in linking together
, In other words, the emotional and cognitive components of attitudes.
The state of cognitive dissonance is bornDue to the individual's realization that his actions are not well-founded, that is, he acts in confrontation with his own attitudes and attitudes, when the personal significance of behavior is unclear or unacceptable for individuals.
The concept of cognitive dissonance arguesThat from the probable methods of interpreting and evaluating such a situation (objects) and own actions in it, the individual prefers those that generate a minimum of anxiety and remorse.
Cognitive dissonance - examples from life resultedA. Leontyev: the convicts-revolutionaries who were forced to dig pits, certainly perceived such actions as senseless and unpleasant, the reduction of cognitive dissonance occurred after the prisoners reinterpreted their own actions - they began to think that they were digging a grave for tsarism. Such an idea promoted the appearance of an acceptable personal sense for the activity.
The dissonance of cognitions can arise as a consequencePast actions. For example, when an individual in a particular situation has committed an act that then provokes his appearance of remorse, so that amendments can be made to the interpretation of circumstances and their evaluation, which eliminate the grounds for experiencing this state. In most cases, this is easy, because life circumstances are often ambiguous. So, for example, when a smoker learns about the discovery of a causal relationship between the onset of cancer tumors and smoking, he has many means to reduce cognitive dissonance. Thus, in accordance with cognitive theories of motivation, the behavior of the individual is dependent on her worldviews and cognitive assessment of the situation.
How to get rid of cognitive dissonance? Often, external attribution or justification is used to eliminate cognitive dissonance. Responsibility for actions can be removed by recognizing them as forced measures (forced, ordered) or justification can be based on self-interest (well paid). In cases where there are few reasons for external justification, then another method is used - the change of attitudes. For example, if an individual was forced to lie, then later he unconsciously makes corrections to his initial judgment about reality, adjusting it to a "false statement", as a result of which it is subjectively transformed into "truth."
The author of the theory of cognitive dissonance, Leon Festinger, admits that individuals can even believe in what was previously said to be insincere, and, thus, to reach consonance.
According to a number of postulates this concept converges withTheories of cognitive balance theory and attribution, introduced by the Austrian-American psychologist F. Haider, which was based on his theories on the principles of Gestalt psychology.
In the variety of situations that arise in everyday life, dissonance may increase or decrease. The degree of its expression depends on the problematic tasks that face the individual.
Dissonance arises under any conditions, if the individual needs to make a choice. At the same time, its level will increase depending on the degree of importance of this choice for a person.
The presence of dissonance, regardless of its levelIntensity forces the individual to get rid of it one hundred percent or significantly reduce it, if for any reason it is not yet possible to do so.
To reduce dissonance, an individual can use four methods:
- change your own behavior;
- transform one of the cognitions, in other words, assure yourself of the opposite;
- filter out incoming information on a specific problem;
- apply the criterion of truth to the incomingInformation, admit mistakes and act according to a new, more concrete and clear comprehension of the problem. Sometimes an individual can prevent the onset of this condition and its consequences of internal discomfort by trying to avoid information about its problem, which comes into confrontation with the data already available.

Filtration mechanisms are personally significant forIndividuals of information are well spelled out in the theory of Zygmund and Anna Freud about psychological "protections". The contradiction, arising in the minds of the subjects with respect to a significant deep-personal subject, is, according to Z. Freud, the key mechanism in the formation of neuroses.
If dissonance has already arisen, the subject canPrevent its multiplication by attaching one or more elements of cognition to the cognitive scheme to replace the existing negative element that provokes dissonance. Therefore, the subject will be interested in finding such information that will approve his choice and weaken or eliminate this state completely, while it is necessary to avoid sources of information that can provoke its increase. Often, such actions of subjects can lead to negative results - an individual may have a prejudice or fear of dissonance, which is a dangerous factor that affects the views of the individual.
Between several cognitive componentsThere may be a contradiction relationship. When there is dissonance, individuals tend to reduce its intensity, avoid or completely get rid of it. Such aspiration is justified by the fact that the subject aims to transform his own behavior, finding new information that would concern the situation or the phenomenon that gave rise to dissonance.
It is perfectly understandable that it is easier for an individualTo agree with the existing state of affairs, having corrected own internal representations according to the developed situation, instead of long reflection on a problem of correctness of its actions. Often this negative state appears as a result of making serious decisions. The preference for one of the alternatives (equally tempting) is given to a person uneasy, but after making such a choice, the individual often becomes aware of the "opposing cognitions", in other words, the positive aspects of the version he turned away from, and the not entirely positive sides of that alternative, Which he agreed.
To weaken or completely suppress dissonance,The individual strives to exaggerate the importance of his judgment, while at the same time, diminishing the materiality of the rejected. Because of this behavior, another alternative loses in his eyes any attraction.
Cognitive dissonance and complete
(A state of gravitational tension, feelingsDespair, anxiety) have the same adaptive strategies to get rid of the problem situation, since dissonance and frustration cause subjects a sense of disharmony, which they try to avoid with all their might. However, along with this, dissonance and the situation that provoked it can also be a frustration.

Cognitive dissonance of Festinger

Cognitive motivational theories, being intensively developed today, take their origin from the widely known works of L. Festinger.
Theory of cognitive dissonance in workFestingera has two principal advantages that distinguish the scientific concept from unscientific. The first advantage is, if we use Einstein's formulation, in its reliance on the most common grounds. From such general grounds, Festinger has deduced consequences that may be subjected to experimental verification. This is the second advantage of learning Festinger.
Cognitive dissonance by Leon FestingerImplies some confrontation between several cognitions. He treats cognition quite widely. In his understanding cognition is any knowledge, belief, opinion about the environment, his own behavioral reactions or himself. The negative state is experienced by the subject as a feeling of discomfort, from which he seeks to get rid and restore inner harmony. It is this desire is considered the most powerful motivating factor for human behavior and its worldview.
The state of the contradiction between the cognition X andCognition Y is born if the cognition Y does not come out of cognition X. Consonance between X and Y, in turn, is observed when X comes out of Y. The individual is always focused on achieving internal consistency, that is, striving for a state of consonance. So, for example, an individual who is full-fat decided to stick to a diet (X-cognition), but is not able to deny himself a chocolate bar (Y-cognition). The individual who wants to lose weight is not recommended to use chocolate. This is the dissonance. Its inception motivates the subject to reduce, in other words to eliminate, reduce dissonance. To solve this problem, the individual has three main ways:
- one of the cognitions to transform (in a specific example - stop consuming chocolate or complete a diet);
- minimize the importance of cognitions included inConfrontation relations (decide that overweight is not a big sin or that eating chocolate does not affect a significant increase in body weight);
- Add a new cognition (chocolate bar increases weight, but at the same time, it has a beneficial effect on the intellectual sphere).
The last two methods are a kind of adaptive strategy, that is, the individual adapts to the preservation of the problem.
Cognitive dissonance requires a reduction and motivates it, leads to a change in the relationship, and then behavior.
Below are two of the most famous effects associated with the emergence and elimination of cognitive dissonance.
The first - occurs in the situation of behavior,Conflict with the appraisal of an individual. If the subject agrees to do anything without compulsion, somehow inappropriate to his attitudes, point of view, and if such behavior does not have convincing external justification (monetary reward), then later attitudes and views are transformed in the direction of greater conformity of behavior. In the case when the subject agrees to actions that run a little counter to his moral values ​​or moral guidelines, the result will be the emergence of a discord between moral beliefs and knowledge of behavior, and in the future, beliefs will change in the direction of lowering morality.
The second effect obtained during the researchDissonance of cognition, is called dissonance after making a difficult decision. Heavy is called a solution, when alternative phenomena or objects from which to make a choice, are equally attractive. In such cases, most often, after making a choice, that is, after making a decision, the individual experiences cognitive dissonance, which is a consequence of the resulting contradictions. After all, in the selected version, on the one hand, there are negative aspects, and in the rejected version, on the other hand, positive features are found. In other words, the accepted alternative is kind of bad, but still accepted. The rejected variant is kind of good, but rejected. In the course of an experimental analysis of the results of a difficult decision, it was revealed that over time, after making such a decision, the subjective attractiveness of the chosen alternative increases and the subjective attractiveness of the rejected one decreases.
The individual is thus freed fromCognitive dissonance. In other words, the person convinces himself about the chosen option, that such an option is not just slightly better than rejected, but much better. By similar actions, the subject seems to expand the alternatives. Hence, it can be concluded that complex solutions increase the probability of behavioral reactions corresponding to the chosen variant.
For example, when an individual was tormented for a long time with a choiceBetween cars of mark "A" and "B", but in the end to give preference to the brand "B", then in the future the choice of cars of mark "B" will be slightly higher than before its acquisition. This is due to an increase in the relative attractiveness of cars brand "B".
The cognitive dissonance of Leon Festinger isSpecific variation of problem situations. Therefore, it is necessary to determine with the help of which protective mechanisms and unprotected adaptive tools an adaptive strategy is implemented, if it is applied with the purpose of discouraging the person from dissonance. Such a strategy can be unsuccessful and cause an intensification of dissonance, giving rise to new frustrations.
There are also forces resistingReduction of dissonance. For example, changes in behavior and judgments about such behavior often change, but sometimes it is difficult or associated with loss. It is difficult, for example, to abandon habitual actions, as they like the individual. A new cognitive dissonance and complete frustration can arise due to the transformation of other variations of habitual behavior, which carries with it material and financial losses. There are forms of behavior that generate dissonance, which the individual is not able to modify (phobic reactions).
In conclusion, we can say that the theory of cognitive dissonance of Festinger is quite simple and in a summary it looks as follows:
- there may exist between the cognitive elements of the nonconformity relationship;
- the emergence of dissonance promotes the emergence of a desire to reduce its impact and avoid its further growth;
- manifestations of this desire areThe transformation of the behavioral response, the modification of the relationship, or in the conscious search for new opinions and information about the judgment or phenomenon that gave rise to dissonance.

Examples of cognitive dissonance

What is cognitive dissonance? The definition of this concept lies in the understanding that each action of an individual, going against its knowledge or beliefs, will provoke the emergence of dissonance. It does not matter whether such actions are forced or not.
How to get rid of cognitive dissonance? In order to understand this, you can consider the strategies of behavior on examples. This condition can cause simple daily everyday situations. For example, an individual stands at a stop and sees two subjects in front of him, one of which looks like a solid and successful man, and the second looks like a homeless person. Two of these people eat something in a wrapper. According to the knowledge of the individual, the first subject must throw the wrapper into an urn that is at the same stop three steps away from him, and the second subject, in his opinion, is most likely to throw out a piece of paper in the same place where it stands, that is, To come up and throw trash into the trash can. Dissonance occurs when an individual sees the behavior of subjects that runs counter to his ideas. In other words, when a solid man throws a wrapper under his feet and when a bum crosses the distance in three steps to throw the piece of paper into the urn, a contradiction arises - in the mind of the individual, opposing ideas collide.
Another example. The individual wants to have a sporty physique. After all, it is beautiful, attracts the views of the opposite sex, allows you to feel good, helps improve health. To achieve the goal, he needs to start doing regular physical exercises, normalize nutrition, try to observe the regime and adhere to a certain daily routine, or find a bunch of justifying factors that show that he does not really need it (not enough finance or free time, supposedly bad Well-being, physique within the norm). Any actions of the individual, thus, will be directed towards reducing dissonance - the release from confrontation within himself.
In this case, it is almost always possible to avoidThe emergence of cognitive dissonance. Often this is facilitated by an elementary ignoring of any information on a problematic issue, which may differ from the one available. In the case of the already emerging state of dissonance, its further development and strengthening should be neutralized, by adding new beliefs to the system of their own ideas, replacing the old ones with them. An example of this is the behavior of a smoker who understands that smoking harms his health and environment. The smoker is in a state of dissonance. To get out of it, he can:
- changing behavior - quit smoking;
- having changed knowledge (convince oneself of the exaggerated danger of smoking or inspire yourself that all information about the dangers of smoking is completely unreliable);
- perceiving any reports about the dangers of smoking with caution, in other words simply ignore them.
However, often such a strategy can lead to fear of dissonance, prejudice, the appearance of personality disorders, and sometimes to neuroses.
What does cognitive dissonance mean? In simple words, its definition is as follows. Dissonance is a state in which a person feels discomfort caused by the presence of two or more conflicting knowledge (beliefs, ideas) about one phenomenon. Therefore, in order not to feel cognitive dissonance painfully, one should simply accept for the fact that such a phenomenon simply takes place. It is necessary to understand that the contradictions between some elements of the system of beliefs of the individual and the real state of things will invariably be reflected in being. And the acceptance and realization that absolutely everything can completely differ from one's own thoughts, attitudes, ideas and beliefs avoids dissonance.

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