Cognitive dissonance refers to the psychological discomfort that people experience when their beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors are inconsistent or in conflict with each other. This discomfort arises when people are faced with new information or experiences that challenge their preexisting beliefs or values, and can lead people to modify their beliefs or behavior in order to reduce the dissonance.
One of the key ways in which cognitive dissonance manifests is through the alteration of beliefs or attitudes in order to reduce dissonance. For example, if someone holds a belief that they should be environmentally conscious, but they engage in behaviors that are harmful to the environment, they may experience cognitive dissonance. In order to reduce this dissonance, they may modify their beliefs or attitudes, such as by convincing themselves that their actions are not harmful, or by altering their behavior in order to align with their values.
Cognitive dissonance can also affect the way that people interpret and remember information. For example, if someone holds a belief that is challenged by new information, they may be more likely to interpret that information in a way that aligns with their preexisting beliefs, or to selectively remember information that supports their beliefs and ignore or downplay information that challenges them.
The phenomenon of cognitive dissonance can have significant consequences, as it can lead people to modify their beliefs or behavior in order to reduce dissonance, even if those modifications are not based on objective evidence or a full consideration of the options. In addition, it can contribute to the formation of cognitive biases, as people may selectively attend to or remember information that aligns with their preexisting beliefs in order to reduce dissonance.
What Is Cognitive Dissonance? – Forbes
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