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Author Topic:   Cognitive Dissonance and Cultural Beliefs
Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16065
Joined: 07-20-2006
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(1)
Message 46 of 102 (671368)
08-24-2012 2:57 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by Straggler
08-24-2012 2:55 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
Genuine cognitive dissonance requires a degree of self awareness and examination ...

No.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 47 by Straggler, posted 08-24-2012 3:03 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10267
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 47 of 102 (671370)
08-24-2012 3:03 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by Dr Adequate
08-24-2012 2:57 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
OK.Then what does induce it if not the conscious awareness of believing contradictory things?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-24-2012 2:57 PM Dr Adequate has responded

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 Message 48 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-24-2012 3:29 PM Straggler has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16065
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 48 of 102 (671372)
08-24-2012 3:29 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by Straggler
08-24-2012 3:03 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
OK.Then what does induce it if not the conscious awareness of believing contradictory things?

The counterfactual belief in a falsehood.

I think I've made this clear.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by Straggler, posted 08-24-2012 5:28 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10267
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 49 of 102 (671379)
08-24-2012 5:28 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Dr Adequate
08-24-2012 3:29 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
I think you are conflating contradictory thinking with cognitive dissonance. I don't think they are the same thing.

Premise: Dr Adequate is always right.
Conclusion 1: Dr A is right in all EvC threads.
Conclusion 2: Dr A is wrong in this thread because he disagrees with me.

Now if I were to express this premise and these conclusions you may well, quite justifiably, point out that I am an illogical idiot.

But unless I can see the contradiction, unless I can appreciate on some level that conclusion 2 is inconsistent and with the other aspects of my belief system as expressed above, why would I suffer any cognitive dissonance?

If I subjectively think I am being logically and evidentially consistent, no matter how wrong headed such thinking may objectively be, what would cause any feelings of discomfort, embarrassment etc. etc.....?

Unless I have the wit/insight/self-awareness/whatever to appreciate that my thinking is contradcictory why would I suffer from any cognitive dissonance as a result of such thinking?

Dr A writes:

The counterfactual belief in a falsehood.

One first has to accept the facts that contradict one's thinking in order to recognise that one's thinking is counterfactual.

Those who live in blissful ignorance of the facts or who never make the connection between facts and belief may have all sorts of issues. But they are unlikely to suffer from cognitive dissonance.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-24-2012 3:29 PM Dr Adequate has responded

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 Message 50 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-24-2012 7:13 PM Straggler has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16065
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 50 of 102 (671392)
08-24-2012 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by Straggler
08-24-2012 5:28 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
I think you are conflating contradictory thinking with cognitive dissonance.

Then you are wrong.

You are loudly crying that the shoe fits you. But in fact I did not have you in mind when I displayed the Big Shoe Of Stupid. I don't even think that it fits you. You are being over-sensitive.

Those who live in blissful ignorance of the facts or who never make the connection between facts and belief may have all sorts of issues. But they are unlikely to suffer from cognitive dissonance.

Yeah, you've missed my point entirely, haven't you? Along with the definition of "cognitive dissonance". I think you may have a problem, and it may even fall under the category of cognitive dissonance, but it is not the syndrome that I just described at length and in detail.


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Replies to this message:
 Message 53 by Straggler, posted 08-27-2012 4:52 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 79 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 51 of 102 (671411)
08-24-2012 9:22 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by Dr Adequate
08-24-2012 1:57 PM


what is this blasted cognitive dissonance malarky?
In psychology, cognitive dissonance theory clearly has a meaning. It is the idea that when someone holds two ideas that seem to be in conflict, they will come up with a third idea that will reduce that conflict.

As far as I'm aware, and I may be wrong, the generation or confabulation or rationalization process isn't necessary for cognitive dissonance. It's just that there is a motivational drive towards reducing the dissonance, and those are some of the tactics. This process would be 'dissonance reduction'.

That's my general knowledge, that I just read the start of the wiki article on the subject to confirm. It is the 'discomfort felt by a person seeking to hold two or more conflicting cognitions...simultaneously.' It gives a very common example of cognitive dissonance, along with examples of its resolution:

quote:
Smoking is a common example of cognitive dissonance because it is widely accepted that cigarettes can cause lung cancer, and smokers must reconcile their habit with the desire to live long and healthy lives. In terms of the theory, the desire to live a long life is dissonant with the activity of doing something that will most likely shorten one's life. The tension produced by these contradictory ideas can be reduced by any number of changes in cognitions and behaviors, including quitting smoking, denying the evidence linking smoking to lung cancer, or justifying one's smoking.

The example you gave is of course also featured on the wiki page, amongst some others.


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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 452 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 52 of 102 (671444)
08-25-2012 6:38 AM
Reply to: Message 39 by RAZD
08-24-2012 10:20 AM


Internal conflict is necessary.
quote:

There are some members of the skeptics’ groups who clearly believe they know the right answer prior to inquiry. They appear not to be interested in weighing alternatives, investigating strange claims, or trying out psychic experiences or altered states for themselves (heaven forbid!), but only in promoting their own particular belief structure and cohesion . . .

RAZD writes:

Now do you, or do you not, agree that the behavior highlighted in color is consistent with cognitive dissonance and that this can and does define a subclass of skeptics (rather than individuals, and who is or isn't one)?

If you agree then that is all that is needed here, and all I am concerned with at this time.

No. Cognitive dissonance applies to people who have conflicting cognitions and feel discomfort because of this. It is a product of inconsistency.

You've given the definition elsewhere, but don't seem to fully grasp it. It doesn't apply to people who have beliefs that are inconsistent with yours.

So long as they don't have any paranormal or supernatural beliefs, there's no reason why the group you describe above should be suffering from it.

A YEC wouldn't necessarily experience it unless he or she started to find some of the evidence for an old earth convincing, which could certainly trigger discomfort. Once in that situation, cognitive dissonance theory argues that the person will try to resolve the dissonance. This could be done by rejecting one or other of the conflicting viewpoints, or adding a new one (some of them come up with omphalist type views to make the two compatible, for example).


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Straggler
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Posts: 10267
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.2


(1)
Message 53 of 102 (671583)
08-27-2012 4:52 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by Dr Adequate
08-24-2012 7:13 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
I didn't actually take anything personally or assume you were talking about me particularly. I simply took issue with your statement that cognitive dissonance was caused by "The counterfactual belief in a falsehood".

In expressing why I disagreed with is I simply chose to use an example that included "I". But I could just as well have replaced "I" with "Bob" and made the same point.

In essence I think you are emphasising the belief in something that is factually wrong part of cognitive dissonance at the expense of being aware of some inconsistency as the cause of CD.

It is perfectly possible to believe all sorts of factually wrong things and not suffer cognitive dissonance because you aren't aware of the facts (or don't have the wit to see there is a problem with the facts and your beliefs being in conflict).

That is all I am saying really.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-24-2012 7:13 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-27-2012 5:50 PM Straggler has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16065
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 54 of 102 (671588)
08-27-2012 5:50 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by Straggler
08-27-2012 4:52 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
I didn't actually take anything personally or assume you were talking about me particularly.

Well, it did remind me of things that you have actually said in the past.

I simply took issue with your statement that cognitive dissonance was caused by "The counterfactual belief in a falsehood".

I didn't; I gave instances where the dissonance was caused by conflicting imperatives and resolved by a falsehood.

Can we detect congitive dissonance in such cases? I think we can. Take my example of "homosexuality is a choice":

Principle 1: The book of Leviticus is unquestionably the word of God, and tells us to discriminate against homosexuals, in fact to kill them.
Principle 2: But according to our modern mores, there is little more shocking and stupid than to discriminate against someone based on what they cannot help, e.g. the color of their skin, or their gender.
Solution: One's sexual orientation is a choice. Why, if I wanted, I could decide to be sexually attracted to small pieces of gravel, I just don't want to.

Now, the loons who insist that homosexuality is a choice do invariably believe something like principle 1. And, being modern Americans, they are more or less bound to believe principle 2, or at the very least pay lip service to it.

And their adherence to principle 2 is shown by the fact that they find it necessary to argue the "homosexuality is a choice". Why not say to their opponents: "It doesn't matter a damn whether homosexuality is a choice, or, as you and all those scientists say, innate. God still hates it. As St. Paul says, God chooses who will be saved and who will be damned, so even if God made you gay, that's just his way of showing that you're not one of the elect."

Now it is clear that the proposition that "homosexuality is a choice" does take away the dissonance, since it allows belief in both propositions at once.

Is that why people believe it? Probably, because that is the only thing that would recommend it to anyone, because it is obviously silly. Introspection would convince one that one's sexuality is not a matter of choice; common sense would convince one that no-one would choose to be gay if they had the option; and the testimony of gay people is also fairly clear on this point. A sincere and objective search for the truth would never lead anyone to a conclusion so obviously wrong.


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 Message 53 by Straggler, posted 08-27-2012 4:52 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10267
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 55 of 102 (671590)
08-27-2012 5:59 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by Dr Adequate
08-27-2012 5:50 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
Dr A writes:

Well, it did remind me of things that you have actually said in the past.

I'm intrigued.....?

Dr A writes:

Now it is clear that the proposition that "homosexuality is a choice" does take away the dissonance, since it allows belief in both propositions at once.

Sure. But it does require first being aware, on some level, that there is some conflict to be resolved - Right?

Without the wit to see there is an inconsistency no solution is needed because no dissonance is experienced.

Dr A writes:

A sincere and objective search for the truth would never lead anyone to a conclusion so obviously wrong.

I think many hold views without ever having even considered that a "sincere and objective search for the truth" might be something worth contemplating and thus experience no dissonance at all despite holding beliefs that might make yours or my head implode.


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RAZD
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Posts: 19719
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 56 of 102 (671892)
08-31-2012 7:00 AM
Reply to: Message 42 by Dr Adequate
08-24-2012 1:57 PM


Re: RAZD
Hi Dr Adequate

In psychology, cognitive dissonance theory clearly has a meaning. It is the idea that when someone holds two ideas that seem to be in conflict, they will come up with a third idea that will reduce that conflict.

Or a way of modifying one of the two to reduce to dissonance.

The canonical example is of people paid to perform a boring task and then bribed to tell others that it's interesting. If they accept the bribe, they will then reduce their dissonance by genuinely believing that the task is interesting.

That is one example of many forms of Cognitive Dissonance.

I have no idea what you mean by "cognitive dissonance" except that you seem to be suggesting that people are suffering from "cognitive dissonance" whenever they think they're right and you think they're wrong. Which would not even be a situation that would induce cognitive dissonance.

In other words, you don't understand my argument and thus assume that I am wrong and are impelled to imply this is often the case ...

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
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Posts: 19719
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 57 of 102 (671967)
09-01-2012 1:22 AM
Reply to: Message 56 by RAZD
08-31-2012 7:00 AM


Cognitive dissonance and sports
Here's one we should all be familiar with:

The sports fan:

Every year is convinced that "this year .... " (fill in the blank sports team) " ... will win ... (fill in top award in sport in question).

Then invests lots of time watching TV ... talking and sometimes bizarre behavior ... as if their support will make a difference.

and more often than not, it is just another year in a string of years where it just doesn't happen.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 452 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 58 of 102 (671978)
09-01-2012 8:55 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by RAZD
09-01-2012 1:22 AM


Re: Irrational belief/behaviour and sports
RAZD writes:

Here's one we should all be familiar with:
The sports fan:

Every year is convinced that "this year .... " (fill in the blank sports team) " ... will win ... (fill in top award in sport in question).

Then invests lots of time watching TV ... talking and sometimes bizarre behavior ... as if their support will make a difference.

and more often than not, it is just another year in a string of years where it just doesn't happen.

No. Try again.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by RAZD, posted 09-01-2012 1:22 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 452 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 59 of 102 (672015)
09-01-2012 6:06 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by RAZD
09-01-2012 1:22 AM


Re: Cognitive dissonance and sports
RAZD writes:

Here's one we should all be familiar with:
The sports fan:

Every year is convinced that "this year .... " (fill in the blank sports team) " ... will win ... (fill in top award in sport in question).

Then invests lots of time watching TV ... talking and sometimes bizarre behavior ... as if their support will make a difference.

and more often than not, it is just another year in a string of years where it just doesn't happen.

The problem with this is that there's nothing in the description that tells us that the individual would be experiencing cognitive dissonance. His unjustified optimism and general behaviour isn't rational, but you haven't described any other belief of his that contradicts it. If there was, and he recognised or sensed the contradiction, that's when he's likely to experience the discomfort associated with cognitive dissonance.

It's easy to think of good examples to illustrate CD.

Try another one.


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 Message 57 by RAZD, posted 09-01-2012 1:22 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 452 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


(4)
Message 60 of 102 (672131)
09-03-2012 5:42 PM


An example of CD.
Let's take the case of a fictional John.

John expresses the following viewpoint.

If a proposition about reality can't be proved or disproved, it is rational to be completely uncommitted on the likelihood of the truth of that proposition.

It is irrational to describe a proposition that cannot be proved or disproved as "very unlikely to be true" unless one can do the necessary mathematical calculations to determine its probability.

Mary disagrees, and thinks that these views of John's will contradict other views that he has, and also the way he behaves, so she attempts to stimulate cognitive dissonance in John in order to encourage a change of mind. She suggests to John:

"Don't you think it's very unlikely that there's a treasure worth more than one million dollars buried under the middle of your backyard?.".

John considers the question, and replies: "no, I don't know how likely it is, so I'm completely uncommitted on the question".

Mary then asks John why he doesn't dig a hole in the centre of his backyard, as that would seem worth doing for anyone who didn't think the proposition very unlikely. After all, she points out, even at a one in ten chance, the effort would surely be worth it.

John expresses annoyance, and leaves the room.

Why?

It's quite likely that Mary has successfully stimulated some dissonance in John. Assuming he knows that holes are dug frequently for a variety of reasons, and that a random hole can be reasonably regarded as very unlikely to uncover a million dollar treasure because these turn up very rarely, he would actually consider the treasure proposition to be very unlikely. But because of his expressed views on the irrationality of such an estimate, he finds himself with conflicting cognitions.

John is a geologist, and Mary knows that he strongly disagrees with creationists who declare the planet to be less than 10,000 years old. So, on their next meeting, she asks him about omphalism, pointing out that the proposition cannot be conclusively proved or disproved. John sticks to his guns, and declares himself completely uncommitted on whether omphalism is true or false. Mary then points out that he must then be completely uncommitted on the age of the earth.

John expresses annoyance, and storms out of the room.

And so it goes.


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