A Word About Cognitive Dissonance

You may have seen these words in the subtitle of my blog heading and wondered what the heck I was blabbering about, so I thought I’d offer a little explanation and context.

Merriam- Webster Online defines cognitive dissonance as “: psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously”.

Often this conflict produces discomfort, which can cause an individual to alter their beliefs to reduce the dissonance, and thus make those two conflicting beliefs come more in line with each other.

For instance, assume you are a person who believes that “Pediatricians are nice people”. At the same time you also hold a belief that “Guns are bad, and people who use them are evil.” Then assume that you meet a nice pediatrician who enjoys using guns. Doesn’t that throw your two preexisting beliefs into conflict? To reduce that conflict and the feeling of discomfort it produces, you might be left with two alternatives – either soften your views on firearms, or harden your views on pediatricians.

My hope is that such people who come in contact with me, come away with some cognitive dissonance that might produce an inner conversation such as this…
 ” Dr. Late Bloomer is a really nice lady, and she takes care of babies and sick kids. But, I just found out that Dr. Late Bloomer likes firearms ….. Soooo, maybe firearms aren’t so bad after all,  because my other alternative is to believe that Dr. Late Bloomer is an evil person, and I know that isn’t true.”

…At least I “hope” that is the inner conversation that happens.

  1. Sue Gordon

    December 7, 2015 at 3:35 am

    Developing the mindset to Carry Concealed has often put me through cognitive dissonance. Do I really live in a world where I need to protect myself with a handgun. I don't really know. I do know as a 70 y/o female I don't want to be on the wrong side of that choice.

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