Posts Tagged ‘Cognitive Dissonance’

Will you waver over the same tough decision 20 years later? Cognitive dissonance is wove into the aging story.

November 13th, 2022 No comments

Do older adults more often feel relieved than younger people? You may sometimes have similar questions in your mind. Imagine this scenario: when you commute to work, you catch a glimpse of a couple of elders sitting on rocking chairs in their backyards as if the hustle and bustle of the world no longer matter to them. Your guess is partially correct. As people get older, they seem to live light-hearted lives because they have mastered regulating their emotions positively. Nevertheless, people indeed face hurdles in their lives regardless of age. When people hold inconsistent cognitions in their minds, they experience a state of mental discomfort called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance refers to the perception of contradictory information in one’s actions, beliefs, and thoughts. For example, smokers are likely to experience cognitive dissonance because their smoking behavior runs against the common concept that nicotine harms their health. Likewise, people usually experience cognitive dissonance in making difficult decisions because people need to justify their choice as the better one even though they value both options equally. The discrepancy between behavior and belief creates uncomfortable feelings, which motivate people to change their attitudes or behaviors to reduce the unease dissonance experience. 

People incline to comforting lies to resolve their cognitive dissonance. Picture is taken from

Read more…
Categories: Aging Tags: ,

I TOTALLY needed that $99 pair of light-up, pizza-alien sneakers…

November 25th, 2019 No comments

The $99 pair of light-up pizza, alien shoes that we all TOTALLY need (source)

Amazon Prime one-click ordering is dangerous territory. Bacon-patterned duct-tape? A ten-pound bag of gummy bears? A pool floaty shaped like a dinosaur? The only thing standing between you and these extremely valuable purchases is 1-click (and free 2-day delivery, of course). But you needed that $99 pair of light-up pizza-alien sneakers– your purchase was entirely justified. Even though you already have 5 other pairs of sneakers, your life would not be complete without this specific pair. Let’s be real, every person (including you) has impulsively bought something and then spent the rest of the day validating or rationalizing your decision. Well, that urge to justify your purchase is a real psychological phenomenon named Post-Purchase Rationalization, or the idea that people tend to justify and defend the purchases they make even if the purchase was impulsive, misguided, inadequate or so on (i.e. you telling yourself that buying those sneakers was a good decision is you post-purchase rationalizing). 

Read more…

Why Students of Politics Should Leave The Colby Hill: The Confirmation Bias

April 17th, 2017 3 comments

On Tuesday, November 8th, 2016, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Although his supporters were excited and triumphant, many students at Colby College and other campuses across America were left shell-shocked. Students at Ivy League colleges – and those at Ivy League wannabees – seemed especially devastated and stunned. The website The College Fix reported numerous scenarios that suggested that students had expected a completely different outcome. Students at Columbia “came running, screaming, and crying to College Walk at 1 a.m.”, and insisted that exams be postponed so they could recover from the ordeal of Trump’s win. Over at Cornell, a completely bewildered student wandered around campus mid-election screaming, “How the f*** is he winning? What the f***?” At Yale, campus organizers actually organized a post-election group primal scream so students could “express their frustration productively.” Even at Penn, Trump’s alma mater, as it appeared likely that Trump would win the election, a student described a “miserable and most depressing scene.” How could some of the supposedly smartest students in America, schooled on the most elite of college campuses be so befuddled? What happened? Were they really so stupid, or had they perhaps been dumbed-down by their rarefied environment and media predictions based on misleading polls? To read more about misleading polls, click here. The answer can be found in a better understanding of the way the brain selects information from the environment, assesses it for accuracy, and reconciles it with pre-existing beliefs.

Read more…

The Show Must Go On! The War on Terrorism and Other Escalations of Commitment

April 17th, 2017 3 comments

We are in the 16th year of the War on Terrorism and less than a week ago, Donald Trump raised the stakes by bombing Syria and Afganistan. The Afganistan bombing was the largest non-nuclear bomb deployed in the history of the United States. When confronted about the decision, Trump referred to the dropping of the 30 ft, 11 ton MOAB (Massive Ordinance Air Blast) on an Islamic State cave and tunnel complex as a, “very, very successful mission.” Successful by what means? Every decision by the past three presidents to further engage in this war has led to more US soldier and Middle Eastern civilian casualties and we have made no steps towards conflict resolution. If this sort of stubborn persistence seems familiar that’s because this kind of error has been repeated throughout history as seen in the Vietnam War, in economic bailouts, and in failed skyscraper building projects just to name a few. This behavioral error is a cognitive bias known as escalation of commitment, or the Sunk Cost Effect.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

IKEA: Furniture Company or Masterful Manipulators?

April 16th, 2017 2 comments

You wake up one day with the urge to build something—let’s say it’s a chair for your kitchen table. You print the instructions from online, go to the hardware store to get supplies, and then you set up shop in the garage, ready to build your masterpiece. It already seems like quite an undertaking, doesn’t it? And that’s before you realize that you will make a cut too short, need more wood, and all of a sudden the project is going to take twice as long as expected. So, as you stand there in the garage amidst your frustration, you might ask yourself…why the heck am I doing this? Well, I have good news for you. Wood-working enthusiast or not, thanks to the IKEA effect, you’re going to love that chair far more than the one you saw last week at Bob’s Discount Furniture.

Read more…