Worldview bubble, cognitive dissonance and cell analogy
Do you think that all of the people who were arguing against you in the "Pseudoskepticism and Logic" thread you linked to were suffering from cognitive dissonance.....?
It should be relatively obvious to anyone reading the whole thread (it is to me) that everyone operates with a degree of cognitive dissonance, that it is essentially unavoidable -- the questions are: (1) what is the degree of dissonance being experienced and (2) how firmly are the beliefs being held. This can range from mild discomfort (see Panda above) to severe emotional trauma (epiphany moments).
This is because we each and everyone have a worldview that differs from everyone else's, sometimes to large degrees and sometimes to small degrees. Large degrees cause greater cognitive dissonance when they are compared\contrasted one to the other.
These individual worldviews are also embedded in cultural and national worldviews, and these can serve to reinforce individual worldviews, even when those individual views are in direct conflict with contrary information from objective empirical evidence (ie young earth views).
You can think of your personal worldview as a cell membrane with your cognitive dissonance as a filter for information entering the cell -- it readily permits information that it thinks is confirmatory\favorable\benign to existing beliefs opinions and knowledge, but it tries to keep what it feels is contrary\disturbing\inimical information outside. In this analogy the cultural and national worldviews become similar to multicellular organisms working together.
Personally I believe this process is evolving into a more international, interspecies worldview, but that we still have a long way to go in this regard (there are still some very tribal centric people in the world, and not just in the middle east).
The key here is to learn to recognize the symptoms in your own arguments and to try to use a more open-minded skeptical approach to alternate explanations and information.
Similar things might happen on the left. For example someone who maintained that racial/religious profiling wouldn't help catch terrorists would I think be sacrificing facts to reduce dissonance between on the one hand, the principle "We should prevent terrorism" and on the other hand "profiling is wrong". But I don't see liberals who oppose profiling doing that; rather they live with the problem, and say things like: "This is the price we pay for living in a civilized society." ...
My personal opinion on this one is that the 9/11 attack was not so much an attack on the US as it was on the world economic capitalist system (it was the World Trade Center after all -- full of international business offices and foreign company workers), and that the overall effect of the attack was really rather minimal to the US people (there was more damage done by Bush and "Fear Inc" than by the actual attack). In addition profiling doesn't stop the homegrown terrorists from Timothy McVay to abortion doctor killing fundamentalists. My resolution is that the government over-reacted (in many ways including invading Iraq ...).
Another one to look at is immigration.
Principle 1: It is bad to immigrate illegally especially when people are waiting to do it legally Principle 2: Farmers and factories need immigrant labor to meet their production needs, preferably with low pay workers Solution: temporary work cards or some kind of "work to citizenship" program that would sign people up to work say 4 years, and learn english and get a GED in night school, with cit test at the end.
But nowadays the problem at least in my experience is predominantly on the right: the left have become more pragmatic, and the right more ideological
Agreed, as we have shifted to the center (abandoned by the GOP) for fiscal responsibility and still hold on to principles of social justice the emphasis is more on a blend of socialism with a capitalist democracy, including a more just tax system, such as we see working in other countries -- particularly on things like universal single payer medicare and social security.
This biggest threat I see to the US is the still growing corporate anarchistic hegemony takeover of government, using jingoist propaganda and actively seeking to lower the economy for the middle and lower classes. Companies becoming more like independent medieval city states and people becoming (if not already) peasants.
revisiting old arguments again? is that not a sign of dissonance?
Again, not sure we need to revisit old arguments ...
For the record I didn't feel any such feelings during that discussion. ...
No surprise? Really? No effect at all?
And yet, for the record, you could not let the discussion go (and still can't?), perhaps because your "resolution" is such a strong conviction that you are correct that you don't need to change ... but you have a nagging discomfort ...?
Aside from disagreeing wth you in areas that you yourself have a strong emotional attachment to ...
So you are saying that the dissonance caused by the disagreement between us doesn't apply to you because you assign it all to me? -- aren't you excusing your part of the disagreement as justified by my apparent dissonance, thus maintaining your (notably) firm belief that you are correct? Is this not the first defense of cognitive dissonance?
... objectively identify who is suffering from cognitive dissonance and who isn't?
Again, everyone is "suffering" -- subject to cognitive dissonance -- it is unavoidable because no two minds are alike. The question is one of degree. Or do you deny this as well?
It seems you ignored the whole cell analogy -- to turn the discussion back to one of your pet peeves, something that seems to disturb you, that you can't seem to let go -- why is that?
Let me suggest that this discussion not disrupt this thread further, but that if you do want to pursue it further, we can have a new thread just to discuss your dissonant behavior ...
Please Straggler, I do not want another long drawn out pointless wasting of a thread.
I am just out from 5 days of 24 hr chemo, I am tired rundown and sore.
(1) This thread is not specific to people but to groups of people (cultural beliefs)
(2) There are a bunch of factors listed before getting to pseudoskepticism, and you apparently have not had any issue with them.
(3) When I raised pseudoskeptics I specifically said it was to focus on a different aspect than the previous thread:
Message 24: • 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 . . .
The second group was the focus of discussion in the previous thread, so here I want to bring up the third group.
Color added for emphasis -- this is the group where cognitive dissonance is affecting their willingness to pursue the possibility of alternate explanations. This aspect does not apply to psychic\supernatural experiences alone, but to any situation where people have an a priori belief that something is wrong, and are unwilling (in varying degrees) to consider the possibility that they may be wrong. The stronger the unwillingness, the greater the cognitive dissonance and attempts to avoid\deflect\discredit contrary arguments.
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.
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 ...
You appear to have missed that the topic is NOT about individuals, but about groups of individuals. The sports fan is a member of a group of sport fans, they can seek confirmation of their beliefs in their teams success with other sports fans, and thus reduce dissonance.
Your examples, while CD, are not groups of people, hence off topic.
quote:Cognitive dissonance is the term used in modern psychology to describe the discomfort felt by a person seeking to hold two or more conflicting cognitions (e.g., ideas, beliefs, values, emotional reactions) simultaneously. In a state of dissonance, people may feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology purposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements. An example of this would be the conflict between wanting to smoke and knowing that smoking is unhealthy; a person may try to change their feelings about the odds that they will actually suffer the consequences, or they might add the consonant element that the short term benefits of smoking outweigh the long term harm. The need to avoid cognitive dissonance may bias one towards a certain decision even though other factors favour an alternative.
Cognitive dissonance theory warns that people have a bias to seek consonance among their cognitions. According to Festinger, we engage in a process he termed "dissonance reduction", which he said could be achieved in one of three ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias gives the theory its predictive power, shedding light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior. ... Dissonance is aroused when people are confronted with information that is inconsistent with their beliefs. If the dissonance is not reduced by changing one's belief, the dissonance can result in misperception or rejection or refutation of the information, seeking support from others who share the beliefs, and attempting to persuade others to restore consonance.
color used for emphasis
People experiencing surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment should certainly suspect that they are confronting dissonant information, but what about other behaviors? What about annoyance?
The predictive power of the theory also means that recognizing that the existence of certain avoidance\insulation mechanisms\behaviors can predict that conflict is in place.
So what are these avoidance\insulation mechanisms\behaviors?
The three specifically mentioned in the article are:
lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors,
adding consonant elements, or
changing one of the dissonant factors.
Note that #3 needs to be divided into two parts, (3A) changing the dissonant information coming in or (3B) changing the dissonant belief/s you hold, the only way dissonance is truly resolved when the new information is valid. For this section we will be discussing (3A) - changing the new dissonant information coming in:
3A. How does one change the new dissonant information coming in?
A couple of ways are:
show that it actually is erroneous (the objective empirical evidence shows that the age of the earth is over 4.5 billion years, not mere thousands), or
decide that it is not that important to you (the cigarette smoker in the article).
2. How does one add consonant elements?
seek out new information (note that this can actually reduce dissonance in favor of your belief if done in an unbiased open minded way, so this is similar to 3B), or
use confirmation bias, to cherry pick new evidence that appears to support your beliefs (while ignoring dissonant information).
1. How does one lower the importance of one of the discordant factors?
There are several ways, imho:
disbelief\rejection of dissonant information (ie - the fox\grapes)
misperception of the information (not understanding it properly)
avoiding situations where dissonant information is likely to be encountered
reducing the importance of the messenger/s (and by implication the message)
seeking confirmation bias from other people with beliefs similar to your own to make your beliefs seem more important than the dissonant information (the cult believers in the article)
lowering the importance of one of your beliefs (again, like 3B a valid way to reduce dissonance).
Feel free to add to any of the above.
Summary: how can one tell if one has cognitive dissonance?
Rather obviously, imhysao, if one is displaying surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment or any of these avoidance\insulation mechanisms\behaviors they should at least suspect that they are experiencing cognitive dissonance in some form or other, from mild discomfort to great annoyance. Note that the level of discomfort can be related to the thickness of the avoidance\insulation barrier as well as to the degree of dissonance between belief and new information.
Curiously, there is a well known quote from Richard Dawkins that I think applies here:
quote:"It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)."
He says the largest group is ignorant, and that it isn't a crime or a put-down, because it is curable, people can learn. He also goes on to say:
quote:I don't withdraw a word of my initial statement. But I do now think it may have been incomplete. There is perhaps a fifth category, which may belong under "insane" but which can be more sympathetically characterized by a word like tormented, bullied, or brainwashed.
Elsewhere I have characterized this last group as deluded, people misinformed by people they trust to tell them the truth. That gives us these categories:
stupid - cannot understand the issue
ignorant - unaware of the issue
deluded - misinformed about the issue
insane - not in touch with reality, unable to deal with the issue rationally
wicked - purposefully lying about the issue
There is one other category that I could add, but I will come to that.
One thing to note about #1-stupid and #2-ignorant, is that there is a curious behavior in some people that are otherwise quite intelligent, but apparently not deluded, insane or wicked: they just seem to be unable to grasp a point in debating an issue, as if they have some kind of selective stupidity. This could be due to under-education - ignorance - of a technical topic, but this does not always seem to be the case, especially when the issue is non-technical. This is sometimes labeled "willful ignorance" as it appears that they willfully choose to remain ignorant.
So, could this not really be a sign of (unconscious) cognitive dissonance affecting their behavior, rather than it being a willful action? I so believe.
I also believe that anyone that does not believe they are personally affected by cognitive dissonance is either:
stupid - cannot understand the issue/s
ignorant - unaware of the issue/s
deluded - misinformed about the issue/s
insane - not in touch with reality, unable to deal with the issue/s rationally
wicked - purposefully lying about the issue/s.
And here I add the 6th:
omniscient - knows the truth about everything.
Now I certainly don't claim to be omniscient, and am willing to recognize that I do have some cognitive dissonance on some issues. For instance, I recognize that my belief in the possibility of god/s is at odds with the logic that says the only deductively rational position is agnostic, that anything else relies on guess\opinion\bias\hunch\conjecture, and I reduce this conflict by tending to be an agnostic leaning deist with an open-minded skepticism, and that I choose to guess in favor of god/s because of my worldview bias.
discussion of individual cognitive dissonance needs to be tied to group behavior.
Hi bluegenes and others,
A number of individuals have been used as examples in the thread, and they will all be members of groups. Bolder-dash and Mick Huckabee and your sports fan, for example.
Yes the intent is to discuss group cognitive dissonance, and you can go from one example to infer behavior of the group, but you will miss some of the group reinforcement that makes the group behavior different from the individual.
I'm glad you recognize the sports fan as part of a group.
This is also seen in the behavior of the cult in the article, where the group took a course that individuals may not have taken.
Some people have shared their own personal experiences with CD on the thread, but I don't see how these are necessarily off topic unless they're so specific as to be unique.
I think it helps\helped to recognize certain behaviors that are associated with CD, and possibly help others see it in their own behavior as well.
But once we recognize CD in an individual case we then need to bring it into a group setting to remain on topic. I've posted (Message 66) how to recognize it in oneself and in others as a guide to the first part here.
I'm open to discussion of how to recognize it as a practical means of identifying it in people, and then associating it with group behavior, what the group is, and how being in a group alters the behavior. I'd like to end up with a list for group behavior mechanisms that would then help predict CD behavior better than just individual behavior indicators (ie - why some creationists leave after a few rounds for instance - where do they go? and why do they often not return?)
Personally I think the group behavior is the more important indicator of behavior than an individual per se, but that is just my opinion at this point. It is also why I want to discuss\investigate the group aspect over the individual at this time.
At this point in time the one thing I see different in a group, is reinforcement of the behavior by association with others of similar beliefs, no matter how valid the beliefs are.
This, of course, is not entirely correct, it is either a misinterpretation or misunderstanding, as this thread is not intended to be about individual accusations, but about group dissonance issues (eg - the "and Cultural Beliefs" - part of the topic title).
But I put it to you that rather than CD being rampant and evidenced by nearly every fuckwitted conclusion that resolves a seeming conflict, there is another and far more evidenced explanation for such contradictory and fuckwitted thinking. The most common reason for people to believe stupid and contradictory things in my experience is because they have unquestioningly accepted the idiocy of those around them.
Congratulations, you just recognized the group reinforcement element of cultural cognitive dissonance, the element that is associated with the cult group behavior, and the type of behavior this thread is about.
Likewise - If I decide, after reading the contributions of people such as yourself, RAZD etc. etc. on this very debate site that bankers are wankers and that practically anything I do with my ill gotten money will be morally superior to handing it back to make a drop-in-the-ocean contribution to wankers bonuses - Then I am not necessarily suffering from CD. I am just being overly influenced by others in a way that may have nothing to do with CD at all.
And then you would be behaving according to group reinforcement to reduce your CD ...
Call me obstinate, but I just don't see any way around it being part of our mental makeup, Straggler, we are not perfect beings.
But if I never had any feelings of discomfort or contradiction and I just "followed the herd" where does the CD come into it.....?
Why did you change your behavior? A conflicting opinion to your just returning the money was presented, you considered the options, the saw the dissonance between them, and changed your behavior to one you felt was more approved by the group, rather than any actually known to be valid reason.
Does the dissonance have to be fully conscious or can your open-mindedness (or gullibility for the "fuckwits" ) to change lower the threshold so that it is hardly noticeable?
Look at Romney dancing all over the place on Obamacare -- as was fully predicted btw -- that guy has some real issues to resolve between all the different sides of the different issues. His goal is to get elected, and he will flip and flop to election day.
Because my initial instinct (i.e. give the money back) was an unthinking response. ... Where is the contradiction in my thinking that has caused CD?
Your "initial instinct" was an "unthinking response" response because it was from your worldview: it is part of your worldview that it is proper to return property to the owner, and it is more of an unconscious response than an unthinking one (it has been previously thought out ... or taught to you by parents etc ... it is part of your cultural makeup).
You still modified your behavior, and in this case, you still felt you did not deserve the money (worldview beliefs again) and so gave it to someone else you felt could best use it.
is that still an example of CD in your eyes?
Yes, because of behavior modification (AND because you still were conflicted to keep or give to someone else? then resolved that to preserve your feeling that you are honest by not keeping it by giving it to what appears a worthy cause, well done)