Saturday, December 8, 2007

Cognitive Dissonance

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The burden isn’t either/or, or consciously choosing from possibilities equally difficult and regrettable – it’s and/and/and/and/and as well. Life is and: the accidental and the immutable, the elusive and the graspable, the bizarre and the predictable, the actual and the potential, all the multiplying realities, entangled, overlapping, colliding, conjoined – plus the multiplying illusions! This times this times this times this… Is an intelligent human being likely to be much more than a large-scale manufacturer of misunderstanding?” (Philip Roth, The Counterlife, 1986)

Cognitive dissonance - the internal turmoil we experience when we hold incongruous thoughts, values, beliefs, knowledge, and emotions all at the same time – everyone suffers from it, for various reasons and at varying degrees. By nature, people do not want to have feelings or thoughts that battle against each other. Aversion towards cognitive dissonance is sometimes the reason why people tend to be close-minded, and oppose new ideas and counter-arguments.

Though people may find it unpleasant, cognitive dissonance is an instrument for learning and change. By forcing people to react and confront their conflicting cognitions, it encourages a modification in thoughts, beliefs and values and induces behavior or attitude change.

Cognitive dissonance is one of life’s inescapable realities. The important thing, therefore, is not how we can avoid it but how we deal with it.

So, how do you deal with cognitive dissonance?

5 comments:

Daddo said...

Bad breath or no breath. A cognitive dissonance that would propel you to use oral hygiene products or die. ;)

Angeli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angeli said...

to brush or not to brush your teeth - that is the question? :)

Daddo said...

So, you deal with cognitive dissonance by brushing your teeth or not? ;)

Angeli said...

i don't deal with it. i welcome it. :)

 
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