Originally Posted by AZCouture
Ok you two, can you break that down into lay people descriptions?
Heh heh...I love cognitive dissonance. I used to make my roommates be subjects in all of my experiments and they finally refused to do any more. They said that psychology experiments were designed to make you feel stupid.
Cognitive dissonance just means that feeling of mental tension you get when you see two competing arguments and it makes you mentally uncomfortable. You want to maintain a feeling of "calm" so you choose a side. That's the simple explanation...you basically can't hold two competing views as both being correct.
Then a bunch of other theories come from that, like the post-purchase rationalization i mentioned. They've shown that if you buy something expensive you come up with all kinds of reasons why that was a good decision to avoid thinking that you made the wrong decision ( which is mental tension/ cognitive dissonance). They've shown that people who buy a car will notice that make of car more than others, probably as a way to validate buying that model. If i buy a mercedes I'll notice more mercedes on the road, and that makes me feel better about buying one myself.
The basic idea is that people don't like feeling wrong, so cognitive dissonance drives a lot of behavior. You want to believe that you're right, so you look for evidence of what you believe to reinforce the feeling of mental comfort. You hang out with people who believe what you do, you choose a church that tells you what you believe is right, and the news that you watch is slanted toward what you think is right. All to make yourself avoid cognitive dissonance.
And that's your lecture for the day. The quiz will follow.