What is dissonance in relationships? Cognitive dissonance and its manifestation in life.

Cognitive dissonance: what is it in simple words?

Cognitive dissonance (translated from Latin “cognitio” - “cognitive process”, “cognition”, “recognition” and “dissonantia” - “lack of harmony”, “lack of consonance”, “lack of coherence”, “inconsistency”) is a specific condition mental discomfort of the individual, which occurs when conflicting values, ideas, emotional reactions, beliefs and other ideas about the surrounding reality or one’s own inner world collide in a person’s mind.

If we talk about cognitive dissonance in simple words, this phenomenon can be described as a conflict that arises within a person. Each of us imposes a certain pattern on this or that event occurring in our lives in the form of a previously created model of behavior or attitude. We do this on a subconscious level in order to create more convenient and comfortable conditions for everyday existence.

What emotions will you experience if you see that a beggar man in torn clothes, to whom you gave twenty rubles a few minutes ago, gets behind the wheel of a luxury SUV? How would you feel if you found out that your quiet, friendly, always level-headed acquaintance hit his wife? You will experience a breakdown or breakdown of the previously established pattern and you, plunging into a state close to shock or stupor, will begin to experience psychological discomfort (dissonance).

Cognitive dissonance by default causes discomfort in any person, so it is not surprising that each of us, having plunged into this state, strives to get out of it as quickly as possible. One category of people prefers to ignore, another category tries to resolve a conflict situation, a third category simply does not notice what is happening around them, and a fourth category tries in every possible way to avoid plunging into a state of cognitive dissonance.

The main problem caused by the state of cognitive dissonance is that a person experiencing internal discomfort is not searching for the truth, but is trying to formally bring motives and knowledge to a common denominator. That is why many people, trying to get rid of internal contradictions, use the first excuse that comes to mind, which is more or less suitable in a given situation.

Basic theory

Leon Festinger developed the theory of cognitive dissonance, which moved psychology forward in many ways. Allowed science to explain some conflict situations that arise both between people and within individuals. According to Festinger, cognitive dissonance is a discrepancy between the subject’s experience and the perception of the current situation.

His theory reveals aspects of how the resulting imbalance affects the individual. There are different types of dissonance and methods of getting rid of psychological stress. Leon Festinger formulated 2 main hypotheses:

  • As soon as the subject feels an internal contradiction, he begins to make efforts aimed at overcoming it, since it generates strong internal tension.
  • The second assumption directly follows from the first. The individual makes every effort not to find himself in stressful situations again when cognitive dissonance is fully manifested.

Leon Festinger, forming his direction, proceeded from the postulates of Gestalt psychology. According to his theory, a person perceives the emerging contradiction as an unpleasant event that requires correction. A subject faced with an internal imbalance receives a certain incentive to change his thinking:

  • the personality completely changes previous attitudes and views;
  • or replaces the concept with one that is closest to the traumatic situation that caused cognitive dissonance.

In Russia, the concept was introduced by Viktor Pelevin. The famous writer used the term in his works of fiction, using simple words to explain it that anyone could understand.

In everyday life, some people call events that puzzle them that way. Most often, such internal contradictions, characteristic of cognitive dissonance, appear due to religious differences, moral and ethical differences, or against the background of strong emotions in response to any other unexpected action.

When and why did the theory of cognitive dissonance emerge?

Leon Festinger
In 1957, American psychologist and expert in the field of psychology of thought regulation Leon Festinger, taking as a basis Heider's theory of structural balance and Lewin's field theory, formulated the theory of cognitive dissonance. The impetus for the creation of the theory was the rumors that spread after the earthquake in one of the American states. Festinger, wanting to explain both the rumors and the sincere belief in them by many US residents, made the following conclusion: people always strive for internal balance between personal motives that determine their behavior and information received from outside.

Before Leon Festinger, virtually no scientists had studied the motivational process and its cognitive components at a serious level. He was able to prove that any person strives to make his perception of the real world coherent and orderly.

Every person wants not only to know inner harmony, but also to preserve it. All views and attitudes that are inherent in a particular person are combined into a system, all the elements of which are consistent with each other. Almost similar agreement exists between what a person believes and how he acts.

Festinger formulated two hypotheses of his theory. The first hypothesis states that a person experiencing cognitive dissonance will do everything possible to reduce the level of incongruity between conflicting attitudes. Since the individual does not want to experience mental discomfort, he strives as quickly as possible to ensure that correspondence (consonance) arises between conflicting attitudes.

The second hypothesis is as follows: “A person experiencing cognitive dissonance not only strives to establish correspondence between conflicting attitudes, but in the future will also begin to actively avoid information and life situations that may cause such a state or increase its level.”

What is dissonance in relationships? Cognitive dissonance and its manifestation in life.

People by nature tend to live in harmony with themselves, their worldview, beliefs, principles, philosophy. This is what allows us to feel whole and satisfied. But often in our everyday life we ​​can encounter such a phenomenon when some contradictory ideas, reactions, values, ideas collide with each other in our minds. This is where we talk about the state of cognitive dissonance.

. And, despite the periodic appearance of this phenomenon in the lives of each of us, few people wonder what it really is. Nevertheless, every person needs to have basic psychological knowledge, because this will help him to better know, first of all, himself.

So, what is cognitive dissonance and how does it manifest itself in our lives?

The concept of “Cognitive Dissonance” comes from two Latin words - “Cognitio”, meaning “cognition” and “Dissonanita”, meaning “lack of harmony”, and is a special condition during which a person feels mental discomfort caused by a clash of contradictory things in his mind. each other's beliefs, ideas, reactions regarding some phenomenon or object.

As an example, we can give the following situation: you are standing on the street and see two people - a respectable man and a tramp. You have your own idea about each of them: a respectable man seems to be an intelligent, well-mannered, gentleman, and a tramp is rather his complete opposite. But then a nice man’s phone rings, he answers the call and starts talking loudly, using a lot of obscene language, spitting on the sidewalk and completely not paying attention to those around him. At the same time, the tramp comes up to you and, in a tone worthy of a real intelligent person, asks you what time it is and how he can get to such and such an address. At the very least, you will be surprised and discouraged by this state of affairs - opposing ideas and beliefs have just collided in your mind. This is cognitive dissonance.

The theory of cognitive dissonance was first proposed by the American psychologist Leon Festinger in 1957. With the help of it, he tried to explain conflict situations in the cognitive sphere of the individual caused by events, phenomena or actions of other people. This theory is driven by two hypotheses:

In a state of cognitive dissonance, a person will invariably strive to eliminate the inconsistencies that caused it. This is influenced mainly by the state of psychological discomfort accompanying dissonance. To neutralize this discomfort, a person will strive to avoid situations that may aggravate it.

The reasons for the occurrence of cognitive dissonance can be different: - Any situation from the present does not correspond to the experience from the past; — The opinion of one person runs counter to the opinions of others; — Traditions and customs of other peoples that are unfamiliar to people; - Logical inconsistency of any facts.

The impact of cognitive dissonance is often underestimated, when in fact it is very serious. As already mentioned, this condition itself arises when a person’s knowledge does not correspond. Therefore, for example, in order to make a decision, a person sometimes must leave aside his knowledge and do something differently, which, in turn, creates a discrepancy between what he thinks and what he does. The result of this is a change in attitudes, which is simply necessary and inevitable for a person’s knowledge to be consistent. This is what serves as a catalyst for the fact that many people often justify some of their actions, thoughts, mistakes and actions, changing their beliefs to please them, because this neutralizes intrapersonal conflict.

Cognitive dissonance, depending on the situation, tends to become stronger or weaker. For example, in a situation where a person helps a person who does not particularly need it, the degree of dissonance is minimal, but if a person understands that he must urgently start important work, but is doing something unrelated, the degree will be higher. The intensity of the state of dissonance directly depends on the importance of the choice facing the person. However, any fact of dissonance motivates a person to eliminate it. There are several ways to do this:

- Change the tactics of your actions; - Change your beliefs; — Critically evaluate new information.

An example situation: a person strives to acquire an athletic physique. It’s beautiful, pleasant, makes you feel good, and your health will be stronger. To achieve the goal, he must start working out, go to the gym, go to workouts regularly, eat right, follow a regimen, etc. if a person has not done this before, he must, by all means, start, or find many reasons why for whom he does not need it, and he will not do it: no time or money, poor (supposedly) health, and anyway the physique is, in principle, normal. Thus, any actions of a person will be aimed at reducing dissonance - getting rid of contradictions within himself.

But the appearance of cognitive dissonance can be avoided. Most often, this is helped by simply ignoring any information regarding the problem, which may differ from the existing one. And in the case of a state of dissonance that has already arisen, you can neutralize the further development of this process by adding new ones to your system of beliefs, replacing the old ones with them. It turns out that you need to find information that “Justifies” existing thoughts or behavior, and try to avoid information that is contrary. But often this strategy leads to fear of dissonance, prejudice, personality disorders and even neuroses.

In order not to perceive cognitive dissonance painfully, you just need to accept the fact that this phenomenon occurs at all. It is important to understand that the discrepancy between some elements of a person’s belief system and the actual state of affairs will always be reflected in life. In fact, it is much easier to accept the facts as they are and try to adapt to the circumstances, without wasting your energy on thoughts that maybe something was done wrong, some decision was made incorrectly, some the choice was not made entirely correctly. Attention! Only if something has already happened, then so be it. In one of the books of the famous writer Carlos Castaneda, in which he describes the process of his training with an Indian shaman, his teacher tells him about one very effective way to live - to be a warrior. Here it is not worth going into details of the philosophy of this path, but you just need to say that one of its main features is that a person can doubt and think until the moment he makes a decision. But having made his choice, he must cast aside all his doubts and thoughts, do what is necessary, and calmly accept the result, whatever it may be.

As for the worldview as a whole, a state of cognitive dissonance most often arises only because we are firmly convinced that something should be this way and no other way. Many people believe that their opinion is the only correct one, that only the way they think is correct, everything should be the way they want. This position is the least effective for a harmonious and happy life. The best option would be to accept that everything can be completely different from our thoughts, views and beliefs. The world is full of not just different people and facts, but also all sorts of mysteries and unusual phenomena. And our task is to learn to look at it from different angles, taking into account any possibilities, and not to be “Narrow-minded”, stubborn people and fixated on themselves and their knowledge. Cognitive dissonance is a condition that is inherent, to varying degrees, in every person. It is important to know about it and be able to identify and neutralize it. But it is equally important to take it for granted.

What is the essence of the theory of cognitive dissonance?

The theory of cognitive dissonance can rightly be called a motivational theory. Cognitive dissonance as a condition significantly influences the behavior of an individual. A set of certain beliefs, values, beliefs, ideas and other cognitions that are inherent in every person affects not only his actions and actions, but also his life position and internal philosophy.

Cognitions are of two types: those that determine a person’s inner world and his ideas about himself and those that determine a person’s relationship to the external world and the reality surrounding him.

Some experts argue that cognition is just a set of certain facts. But the theory of cognitive dissonance proves that this statement is not true. Cognitions are those motivational factors that determine an individual’s behavior both in everyday life and in extreme or non-standard life situations.

Cognitive dissonance theory consists of two elements: intelligence and affect. Intelligence is a set of certain knowledge and beliefs, and affect is a reaction to stimuli and stimuli. At those moments when a person begins to feel internal contradictions between these elements or ceases to find a connection between them, he plunges into a state of cognitive dissonance.

This process has a certain connection with acquired experience or events from the past. Having acted in a certain way or performed a certain action, after some time a person may not only begin to feel remorse or repent of his action, but also look for an excuse for himself.

The theory created by Leon Festinger is confirmed by experiments, studies and tests of brain activity carried out on a tomograph. During one of the experiments, conditions were created for the study participant to experience simple cognitive dissonance. The subject was shown a piece of red paper several times, but a completely different color was named out loud. At the same time, his brain activity was scanned on a tomograph.

The results of the experiment confirmed the fact that when cognitive dissonance occurs, the cingulate cortex, which is responsible for switching attention, identifying errors and inconsistencies, monitoring conflict situations, and controlling certain types of activity, is activated.

When the conditions became more complicated and the experiment participant began to be given more contradictory and complex tasks, the scientists were able to prove that the less the volunteer finds excuses for his actions, the more the cingulate cortex of his brain is excited and the more tension he begins to experience.

How to Deal with Cognitive Dissonance

The occurrence of cognitive dissonance should not be perceived as something terrible and irreparable. Every person has the right to make erroneous judgments and actions, and information coming from outside is not always absolutely correct. Therefore, if you are faced with the problem of cognitive dissonance, it is better to choose one of the following behavioral tactics:

  1. Consider the situation from a different point of view. This tactic is suitable for overly self-confident people who have difficulty accepting that they are wrong. It is very important to recognize the possibility of error or delusion on your part, and in this case, cognitive dissonance disappears on its own. For example, the negative consequences of your action are explained by a mistake you made. In this case, the situation is logical and psychological discomfort is significantly reduced;
  2. Change your behavior pattern. This is necessary if you know for sure that through your actions or inaction you are harming yourself or your loved ones. For example, a woman has been suffering from headaches and insomnia for a long time and knows the consequences of ignoring the problem, but constantly puts off visiting a doctor due to fear or lack of free time. In this situation, signs of cognitive dissonance are added to the symptoms of the disease, and the woman’s general condition only worsens. As soon as she visits the doctor, the psychological discomfort will disappear, because she did what she thought was right;
  3. Don't dwell on the past. If you have done something in the past that was contrary to your own beliefs and principles, then you should not constantly revive this event in your memory. Consider the consequences of cognitive dissonance as a learning experience and try not to make the same mistake again;

It is also desirable to prevent the occurrence of cognitive dissonance. To do this, you should try to act in accordance with previously acquired experience and knowledge and not deviate from your beliefs and ideas. However, being obsessed with being right won’t help either; you always need to be ready to revise or supplement the information you already have about any phenomenon or situation. There is no need to categorically reject the opinions or actions of other people; always try to get more information about different points of view.

The presence of cognitive dissonance often means finding yourself in an unusual and, at first glance, hopeless situation. In this case, it is necessary to quickly analyze the problem and find a completely new solution. This will allow you not to get hung up on the phenomenon of dissonance and successfully cope with it. Accelerating thinking and creativity are key factors in such a situation, and games on the BrainApps website will help develop them.

Cognitive dissonance is not always a completely negative factor. Sometimes it is precisely due to the emergence of cognitive dissonance that a person receives a powerful incentive to develop, work on himself and self-improvement. In everyday life, it is almost impossible to avoid the appearance of contradictory feelings, actions and knowledge, but you can always find a way to look at the situation from different angles and restore harmony.

The main causes of cognitive dissonance

There are many reasons why cognitive dissonance occurs. Let's look at the most popular and widespread of them.

A person can plunge into a state of cognitive dissonance when there is a discrepancy between concepts and ideas that have a strong influence on him when making certain decisions. This is the first and most common cause of internal conflict.

The second reason is the discrepancy that arises between the life beliefs of an individual and the generally accepted norms that guide society or people of a certain circle.

The third reason is the spirit of contradiction. This phenomenon occurs when a person does not want to obey generally accepted ethical and cultural norms. The situation can become heated if these standards do not comply with the law.

The fourth reason is inconsistency, which occurs when information obtained as a result of a certain life experience contradicts new life situations or conditions.

Possible reasons

For what reason do we carry out actions that do not fit into our system of knowledge or values?

Let us describe two typical situations when this happens.

  • An individual encounters an event that he did not expect or new knowledge. For example, a person is rushing to the airport and suddenly his car breaks down. Or, a woman who considers an automatic transmission the most convenient receives information that such a system is extremely inefficient.
  • Nothing in this world can be either only good or only bad. Every thing, phenomenon, event, person has two sides. When making a choice in favor of one of the available options, we a priori choose the alternative that has “black”, “negative” aspects. For example, when investing free funds in a chosen bank, and not in a competing bank, we understand that such a deposit does not give us 100% guarantees.

Among the theoretical causes of dissonance are the following:

  • the contradiction between the concepts and principles that a person has formed;
  • the discrepancy between such personal beliefs and the norms of morality and ethics prevailing in society;
  • personal reluctance (revolutionary ideas) to act in accordance with established norms;
  • discrepancy between the new information received and existing experience or knowledge.

Conclusion: Cognitive dissonance is not an abstract phenomenon; we can experience it every day.

Vivid examples of the state of cognitive dissonance from everyday life

Example No. 1. Nikolai and parental authority

Nikolai is a quiet and obedient boy of primary school age, for whom any word from his father or mother is the law and the ultimate truth. Kolya understands perfectly well that good children listen to their parents and never question their authority.

Therefore, there is nothing strange in the fact that the boy experienced cognitive dissonance when his dad first told him that it was absolutely forbidden to cross the road when the traffic light was red, otherwise he could get hit by a car and get seriously injured, and a few days later he and his son crossed the road when the light was red light, because he was in a hurry and did not wait for the light to turn green.

The boy found himself in the same state of psychological discomfort when he heard that his mother, who always told him that he should never take someone else’s property, was telling his dad that she had managed to secretly smuggle several packs of printer paper through the entrance.

Children, unlike adults, when experiencing cognitive dissonance, receive tangible psychological trauma, which leaves an imprint on the rest of their lives. A child whose psyche has not yet strengthened cannot cope with the discrepancy that has arisen between what his parents told him and what he saw with his own eyes.

Example No. 2. Nadezhda and her move to another country

Nadezhda never wanted to leave her hometown, but meeting a charismatic foreigner influenced her fate in the most dramatic way. When her beloved invited Nadya to marry him and leave for his native country, the girl did not think for a second that she was an Orthodox Christian, and her future husband was a devout Muslim.

Having gotten married, the newlyweds left for the young man’s homeland a month later. Finding herself in a completely different environment, Nadezhda, who had never been abroad before, experienced strong cognitive dissonance. Differences in traditions, clothing, national cuisine, mentality and behavior have caused psychological discomfort.

In order to save the marriage, reduce nervous tension and get out of a state of cognitive dissonance, the woman had to accept the rules of the game dictated by the local residents and change her understanding of her own traditions. Nadya’s friend, who found herself in a similar situation, could not become part of the society of her Muslim husband, so she divorced him and returned to her homeland.

Example No. 3. Alexander and his advertising agency

Alexander has long understood that cognitive dissonance causes not only internal discomfort, but also vivid emotions. Emotions can rightfully be called powerful motivators that force us to perform certain actions and actions: under the influence of emotions, we often buy something, join some organizations or relationships, donate significant amounts of money, help other people, etc. d.

“Why not start using your knowledge for your own benefit through the manipulation of human consciousness?” - Sasha thought and decided to open his own advertising agency. The main task of the Alexander advertising agency is to systematically provoke the occurrence of cognitive dissonance in the target audience, thanks to which it is possible to significantly influence the thoughts, opinions and behavior of people.

Creating advertising for active and positive people, Sasha uses the following slogans: “Buy this immediately, because you really deserve it!”, “True leaders and charismatic personalities should definitely subscribe to this wonderful channel”, “Do you want to be a successful and self-sufficient person? Then you owe it to yourself to read this excellent book!” etc.

To cause cognitive dissonance in the brains of parents, Alexander uses advertising to ask them the following questions: “Do you think that you are a responsible and loving mother? Then why doesn’t your child still have this popular toy?”, “Do you want your child to tell his friends what a cool dad he has? Then be sure to buy him this video game!”, “Do you want to become the best parents for your baby? Then subscribe to our interesting channel!” etc.

Alexander is well aware that the target audience, immersed in cognitive dissonance, will try to reduce discomfort and get out of this unpleasant situation as quickly as possible, so they will begin to buy the product he advertises, subscribe to the channels he offers, etc.

Example No. 4. Karina and cake

Karina decided to get her body in order, so she went on a fourteen-day diet. In the midst of this very diet, the girl realized that she really wanted to enjoy her favorite cake.

Since a spontaneously arising desire contradicts the principles of proper nutrition and the goals that the girl has set for herself, it is not surprising that she plunged into a state of cognitive dissonance.

To get out of the state of internal conflict, Karina first decided that she would not indulge her whims. After 20 minutes, the girl, making sure that the desire to eat the cake did not disappear, looked at herself in the mirror and realized that she did not need any diet, because she was already in excellent physical shape.

After thinking a little more, Karina found the ideal solution: at lunchtime she ate her favorite cake, and in the evening she went for a half-hour run and burned extra calories.

Food for thought and conclusions

So, cognitive dissonance is a specific version of the conflict that arises in a situation of choice and is resolved through changing the worldview (beliefs) of the individual or, conversely, actions. Finally, I want to introduce you to several interesting facts on the topic.

  1. The theory of cognitive dissonance belongs to the American psychologist Leon Festinger. If you are interested in a more in-depth and scientific explanation of the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance, then you can refer to the author’s primary source (“A theory of cognitive dissonance”).
  2. It has been experimentally proven that alcohol prevents and eliminates the feeling of internal imbalance. This is where the saying that “you need to drink” in a difficult situation comes from. However, dear reader, you should understand that drinking will not solve the problem (along with sobriety, the dissonance will return). But this fact explains many stories of people sinking to the social bottom. Under certain mental properties and external circumstances, a person with an internal conflict can become mired in addictive (dependent) behavior that destroys the personality.
  3. The phrase “What a sober man has in his head is a drunk man’s on his tongue” was also proven experimentally. Some people use alcohol as a means to be themselves and not experience internal discomfort, and then say: “I was drunk.”
  4. Cognitive dissonance is a controversial phenomenon. Thus, among sectarians or members of any small groups it can be caused by behavior that is habitual in the generally accepted understanding. For example, according to the law of a criminal group, it is forbidden to leave witnesses, but one of its members violated this principle. After which he experiences internal contradiction.
  5. The extent of cognitive dissonance can vary and is not always clearly understood by different people. For example, going off the diet (just one piece of candy) can cause a real imbalance in a girl, but the phrase “it’s just a piece of candy, don’t suffer from foolishness” is irrelevant.
  6. Through numerous cognitive dissonances, personality changes occur (regression or progress). The more often a person changes his beliefs in accordance with his actions, the easier it is to repeat these actions again and again. This fact is equally true both in relation to the “fall” of the individual and in terms of re-education. For example, in every situation it is easier to lie, but it is also easier for an inveterate liar to tell the truth if he understands that it brings more positive results for him personally.
  7. Sometimes cognitive dissonance involves three components: beliefs, knowledge, and actual behavior. Example: I know that smoking is harmful, but I continue, even though I want to quit.
  8. Often, after the emergence of cognitive dissonance, it is no longer about the rationality of behavior, but about manipulations for its logical explanation.
  9. As a rule, a person comes up with arguments not only in favor of the chosen option, but also against the rejected ones.

Thus, cognitive dissonance is an internal contradiction of motives, needs, actions and beliefs. Mostly arises in a situation of choice. It is eliminated by weighing all the pros and cons for each option and convincing yourself that you are right (if the choice has already been made) or changing the conditions that cause a mismatch in the cognitive sphere of the individual.

And finally one more thing. Remember at the beginning of the article I promised to say whether cognitive dissonance is dangerous? To a certain extent, yes. Why is it dangerous? Internal anxiety, tension, irritability, depression, apathy, aggression and other negative psychological states. They, in turn, can cause a deterioration in relationships with family, at work, in love; formation of bad habits; personality degradation and so on (additional problems, including psychosomatic ones, accumulate like a snowball). Therefore, it is necessary to fight this condition. But as? Right! Change yourself or the environment. Well, this question requires a detailed study of a specific case.

I wish you psychological health and the absence of cognitive dissonance! Thank you for your attention.

How to get out of a state of cognitive dissonance?

Not only humans, but also primates experience internal discomfort when making certain decisions. The mechanism for the occurrence of cognitive dissonance is embedded in our brain at a subconscious level. Therefore, you can completely get out of this state only if you reduce your interaction with society to an absolute minimum. It is almost impossible to do this, because then you will not experience the joy of communication and relationships with other people, you will lose access to new knowledge and turn into a deeply unhappy person.

Although it will not be possible to completely get rid of cognitive dissonance, it is possible to minimize the negative impact of such technologies invented by people as manipulation, artificially creating internal uncomfortable sensations, playing on emotions, etc.

We bring to your attention some practical and effective tips, following which you can not only reduce cognitive dissonance, but also stop falling into the traps set by your own brain.

✔ Tip #1. Change those attitudes that prevent you from living

Very often, certain attitudes in the form of negative or positive statements that you have adopted from people who are significant and important to you prevent you from enjoying life and plunge you into a state of cognitive dissonance. It is very important to understand that you accepted most of these statements only on faith, because no one presented you with any evidence.

As children, many of us were told by our parents that only those children who got straight A's at school and behaved exemplarily would be able to become successful and happy people as adults. We accepted this attitude, diligently followed it, and then came to the next alumni meeting and learned that the former C student, whose poor performance spoiled the mood of many teachers, founded his own business and, unlike us, became a very successful person. In such situations, we are absolutely guaranteed a powerful “brain explosion”!

To avoid becoming a victim of cognitive dissonance due to such banal and primitive statements, you simply need to change them to more neutral attitudes. Don’t forget that life is an unpredictable thing, so take a piece of paper, write on it all those attitudes that prevent you from living, and then cross them out with a red or black bold line!

✔ Tip #2. Consult your common sense

People automatically follow what is authority for them! PR people and advertisers are well aware of this, which is why they very often use the services of popular actors, singers, athletes and other media personalities.

In everyday life, we are just as accustomed to obeying parents, bosses, teachers, professors, government officials and other authorities. When we hear that this or that person, who is an authority for us, has committed some bad act, we immediately plunge into a state of cognitive dissonance. We begin to look for justification for this or that action, but this only escalates the situation.

In order not to look for excuses for other people, you should understand that you cannot trust everything that you saw or heard. “Consult” your common sense more often and do not be afraid to ask uncomfortable questions, because ideal people, like ideal authorities, simply do not exist. By clearing your brain of old and ineffective attitudes, you will not only stop taking everything at your word and obeying authorities, but also learn to think critically.

✔ Tip #3. Don't be afraid to become cynical sometimes

You should understand and realize that there are truths in life that we just have to come to terms with. Ideal people don't exist! No one owes nothing to nobody! Adult children must follow their own path! You cannot trust a person who has already betrayed your trust once! Most people are only looking for their own benefit!

A well-developed sense of humor, dosed cynicism and criticality will help you get rid of rose-colored glasses. If you stop living in a world of illusions, you will no longer plunge into a state of cognitive dissonance as often as you did before.

We recommend: 5 examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect: what is it in simple words?

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How to get rid of cognitive dissonance

Every person periodically finds himself in a state of incoherence. The question arises: do we need to get rid of this and if so, how? And also the question is tormented: is it dangerous? It all depends on the characteristics of the dissonance (direction, scale) and on the person’s condition. If the subject experiences obvious and lingering discomfort that interferes with normal life and function, then the contradiction must be fought. It is better, of course, in any case, to regain stability and logic in life as quickly as possible.

How to get rid of cognitive dissonance? There are three ways to get rid of discomfort:

  1. Change your actions, actions.
  2. Adjust existing knowledge and concepts. Accept the facts as they are.
  3. Ignore new information regarding what is causing the dissonance.

A simple example from life: a person who abuses alcohol realizes that it is dangerous to health and gives rise to specific psychological problems in his life. Cognitive dissonance arises. How can it be solved:

  1. Stop drinking, that is, change your actions, habits, and lifestyle.
  2. Convince yourself that alcohol is not so harmful to health, but even beneficial (one glass of wine before bed). Explain the origin of life problems by the influence of another factor.
  3. Continue drinking and ignore any information about the dangers of alcohol, do not notice problems in life and health.
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