Disonance: Perception Theory And The Cognitive Dissonance Theory

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“Before the truth can set you free you need to recognize which false belief is holding you hostage” -Anonymous Striving to achieve consonant cognitions or consistent behaviour always in our daily lives poses great difficulty as the media, our experiences and social interactions are constantly influencing our attitudes, behaviour, beliefs, knowledge and decisions made. Furthermore, through cultural diffusion such harmonious, internal consistencies are threatened, incongruence occurs and our perceptions of things change thus resulting in dissonance. According to Baron, R. A. et al (2008), cognitive dissonance—a consistency theory, is an internal state that results when individuals notice inconsistency between two or more attitudes; two or more decisions or between their attitudes and their behaviour. The theory coined by Leon Festinger (1957), is a universal phenomenon, experienced by many across all cultures. Due to the linkage between our behavior and our attitudes there is often a gap created between what we feel on the inside and what we show on the outside. Social psychologists have carried out numerous experiments to show the effects of such situations. For instance we may lie to our friend when asked our opinion of something, in an effort not to offend them, even if we feel uncomfortable afterwards. By justifying our actions, we may end up changing our own attitudes even if we are not pressured into doing so. This results in cognitive dissonance experiences.

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