Overcoming Cognitive Dissonance.

Cognitive Dissonance

Most know what cognitive means so I will cover what the Dissonance part of Cognitive Dissonance is. Dissonant means harsh jarring, grating, inharmonious, inconsistent, or contradictory.  Cognitive dissonance is the mental block you get when something disagrees with what you believe to be true.

So cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort that can result from holding conflicting beliefs, views or behavior. Something must change in order to remove the dissonance.

Symptoms of Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance can express itself as guilt, anger,frustration, or even embarrassment. This causes the inability to process new information because it would destroy ones perception of what one believes to be true.

When Cognitive Dissonance Occurs There Are Various Reactions We Can Have.

When this occurs we have a choices, choose to ignore the information and live in denial. Usually this results in a person becoming anxious and provoke them to deny the truth.

Some may respond with displacement. We may avoid an emotion we feel is unacceptable by focusing on the intellectual aspects instead of the facts.

We also may try to project what we feel onto someone else by trying to make them feel the emotions we may be feeling. We may even react negatively with anger or we may even tell lies to try to dispel the new information.

Another reaction is rationalization. We will try to rationalize our belief. We do this by supplying excuses or misguided reasons for our belief on the matter.

We can form a reaction by returning our mind to the previous state of our belief. We do this by unconsciously forgetting what caused our cognitive dissonance. Sublimation is pushing ideas into the unconscious so we can try to forget the new information.

Options We Have

We can ignore the information and remain in our state of being incorrect or ignorant.

We could use false reasoning to remain in the incorrect or ignorant state.

We could react against what made us come in to a state of cognitive dissonance.

Or we could use the idea or information , research and weigh the facts to come to a definitive yes or no answer.

Conformation Bias

Conformation bias is a type of cognitive bias that involves favoring information that confirms existing beliefs or ideas.

This impacts how people gather and interpret information. It hinders them finding the truth because they will gather and interpret information that confirms existing beliefs or bias. They are also hindered from finding the true answers because it also influences how they retain and remember information. When in a state of conformation bias we are prevented from looking at things objectively. We will look for information that paints our ideas or views in a good light and the opposing ideas or views in a negative light. This type of bias leads to faulty and poor decisions.

There are various ways we will do this. We will ignore information that does not fulfill our expectations. We will ask questions that tend to confirm our ideas or viewpoints. We will make assumptions that something is true without weighing all the facts.

Deductive Reasoning

In order to overcome cognitive dissonance we have to get rid of our conformation bias and use Deductive Reasoning.

Deductive reasoning is a top down reasoning. For example we develop an idea. We gather information then we use that information to come to a conclusion. So we must detach ourselves from what we believe to be true and weigh the facts.

An example of deductive reasoning.

1 All men are mortal. (Thought or idea)

2 I am a man. (Fact based hypothesis) Which is a conditional statement based on fact.

3 Therefore I am mortal because I am a man. (conclusion) made by developing the idea, gathering information and making a decision based on fact.

If you can not come to a decision sometimes it involves developing more ideas and gathering more facts to  come to conclusions and then comparing the conclusions. Be careful not to let your thoughts get the best of you by developing too many ideas because then you will lose yourself in all the data. Focus on gathering information based on facts that surround your idea.