Cognitive dissonance theory and its startling evidence


We all make mistakes and how we deal with them says a lot about our level of maturity. How we deal with failure is important to us in order to build the road to success. Any meaningful effort begins with the first step of accepting our mistakes or weaknesses. If we are not going to do this, we will never move forward. However, when many people have specific ideas, what happens to their reaction and attitude to failure? The way a person will react when they are alone is very different from the way they will react when they are in a group and feel they have the support of a whole “gang”. Cognitive dissonance theory was published in 1957 by MIT psychology professor Leon Festinger, who showed that people, under certain circumstances, instead of adapting their behavior to their beliefs, they adapt their beliefs to their behavior. against all common sense rules. .
Leon Festinger was 31 when he came across some interesting news that sparked his imagination and his urge to experiment. To help you understand, let’s first take matters into our own hands. The main character in our story is Mrs. Marion Keats who lived in Lake City with her husband. According to this lady, a strange vibration called Sanada decided to communicate with her using a message. Sanada was something like God or a special leader it seems who approached this unique lady and asked her to deliver a message to the world.
The contents of the message implied that huge disasters would occur on a given date and only those who followed the “leader” would be saved as a special spaceship would transport them and watch over their survival and well-being. It was like a prophecy that did not predict good things that would happen in the future. According to the message: “It will lift the bottom of the Atlantic and sink its coast. France will sink, Russia will become a great sea… A great wave will flood the Rocky Mountains to wipe out the Earth of its creatures and create the new order. The date when all these weird things would happen would be December 21st.
As you can imagine, Leon was an ambitious scientist and he wanted to come up with a theory after this strange human behavior took place. What he had to do was see how people would react after the prophecy turned out to be wrong. Leon had an experiment to conduct! He let some of his companions mingle with the believers and see how they react.
On December 21 at 00:00, everyone’s attention was on what will happen with the prophecy, because you can imagine that nothing has happened to the world and no great disaster has come to destroy us, we l ‘humanity. The next question was what the believers would do now and how they would react. That’s what Leon was so eager to find out.
After a while, they opened doors and windows, invited the TV crews waiting outside to come in, made some tea to treat, and prepared to make their first statements. While someone would expect them to realize their mistake soon and stay silent, they were more than willing to discuss what had happened with boundless enthusiasm. According to their declarations: “The world was saved because we prayed…”. However, the prophecy foresaw no such thing.
What the people who believed in this prophecy simply changed their statement. What’s so interesting about this process is that they didn’t care if they had talked about the power of their prayers in the past. Even though it is obvious that they tried to reverse their previous statements and practically lie, no one can directly accuse them of this because they claim to have told us only half the truth and they kept the rest for themselves. In other words, half the truth isn’t a lie, is it?
But that doesn’t matter. Rebuttal provokes such a powerful defense mechanism that individuals, instead of sticking to the logic of rebuttal and changing their behavior, do the exact opposite. They change the logic of things and begin more enthusiastically to convert to the beliefs they have refuted. Cognitive dissonance theory shows that reactions to failure create a new mechanism. When a person’s beliefs collide with tangible evidence of reality, the discomfort caused is so great that it results in the activation of such defense mechanisms which, instead of leading to a change in behavior, reinforce it. . Also, no one is forcing us to believe anything and everyone is entitled to their own set of theories and beliefs. As long as we don’t hurt others, we live in a democratic world and that’s what it’s all about.

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