Cognitive dissonances: what are they and what types are there?
Jul 18, 2021
We always emphasize the fact that more than the experiences we live, it is the meaning we give to those experiences that really marks us. It is the interpretation of these events that causes the emotions we feel and what leads us to want to live the event again or avoid it at all costs.
But, What happens when our perceptions of who we are are wrong? Can we act calmly knowing within ourselves that something is wrong even though no one finds it wrong?
Well, this is what cognitive dissonances are all about. They are a kind of constant confrontation between what we think and what we do on a day-to-day basis, as they cause an internal conflict between our actions and the ideas we have about something. But, how much do cognitive dissonances affect us in everyday life?
If you want to find out, then do not miss this article, where we will talk about this phenomenon and what are the types of cognitive dissonances that exist. Can you recognize any?
What are cognitive dissonances?
According to psychological theories, cognitive dissonances refer to the
A very clear example for this case is to see those people who enact to have perfect control of their emotions, claiming who use their reasoning more than their sentimental side, but they tend to explode irrationally in the face of an act that upset. Thus, it is clear that maintains an internal conflict between what you think you are doing and what you actually do.
Therefore, at certain times and at very specific levels, we have all experienced some case of cognitive dissonance, where we believe we are right about something and convince ourselves of it, but when it comes to experiencing it, our behavior is completely different from this belief. Has it ever happened to you? If so, you don't need to panic, as this alteration can even help you identify your weaknesses, overcome them, and improve them.
Why is this phenomenon caused?
This cognitive dissonance was raised in 1957 by the psychologist Leon Festinger, in a theory that manifests the people's need to maintain constant and rational control between their ideas and their behavior, in order that there is coherence between the two and thus can reach a level of complete and unbreakable harmony.
However, this is almost impossible, since there will always be inconsistencies between them and that is exactly what makes us create our own belief system and develop the attitudes we take in front of the world.
Therefore, when these alterations occur, people try their best to reduce them, avoid them or eliminate them, producing constant anxiety and stress due to this pressure to maintain balance perfect. In extreme cases, people come to find justifications for their actions and defend their ideals, to the point of self-delusion, opting for fallacies or making abrupt changes in their behavior and behaviors.
These dissonances can also be related in three different ways:
Dissonant: It occurs when the individual knows that an action is wrong but does it anyway without analyzing or not caring about the consequences.
Consonant relationship: it is the opposite of the previous one, when the person knows that something has a consequence and, therefore, acts in order to avoid it.
Irrelevant: in this case, people act almost ignorantly when faced with an event that can harm them, almost as if they did not exist.
Types of cognitive dissonances
Knowing these types of cognitive dissonances can help you not only identify when you may be using them, but also when others around you are manifesting it.
1. Selective abstraction
Also called as filtering, it consists in that people are inclined to have a ‘tunnel vision’, that is, that they can only focus on a single aspect of something rather than looking at the big picture or consider other alternatives. This leads to people ending up remembering the event or a person only for that factor, which ends up negatively influencing their perception.
This, as the name implies, is based on the fact that people tend to exaggerate and globalize something because they have experienced a single event, which may or may not have a direct relationship with it, but which in the same way ends up influencing until it ends as an invalid conclusion.
A clear example of this is thinking that a person has lost interest or is doing something deceptive when he has not answered us a quick message. Because that's what infidels do or those who want to end a relationship. Everything is the fruit of our mind.
3. Polarized thinking
This dissonance consists in the fact that a person can go from one extreme to another in terms of their perception of something, without taking into account the intermediate elements between the two. They only see two options: 'black or white', 'Yes or no' or 'good or bad'. They do not consider at all that there are other possibilities in the middle of both arguments. This is very common in people who punish themselves or devalue themselves.
4. Arbitrary inference
Based on information that may well be incomplete or not true, judgments and conclusions can be made that affect the opinion held on a particular topic. In this situation, people do not bother to inquire further about the matter, but rather they are content to listen to what grabs their attention the most.
5. Interpretation or reading of thoughts
Surely it has ever happened to you or have you heard someone say "They're laughing a lot, they sure talk about me" referring to a group of people. That person is convinced that they laugh at her. This is because there is a tendency to interpret the intentions or thoughts of others without any basis, but with a projective character.
6. Confirmatory bias
This is a very common trend that you may have experienced as well. It is based on the fact that we give an interpretation to a reality or we give a conclusion to an event in such a way that it agrees with the beliefs we had about. For example. "I already knew that I couldn't do well at it, because I sensed it."
7. Catastrophic vision
Perhaps the name can give you an idea of what this cognitive dissonance refers to. It's about always thinking and magnify the outcome of an event in advance, which will affect us personally in a very negative way.
8. Fallacy of divine reward
This is one of the most popular cognitive dissonances of all and is almost a religious and mystical concept. Since you have the belief that, regardless of the problems you have or the consequences of them, the situation will always improve over time, even if we do nothing to change it.
It is somewhat similar to thought reading, only in this one has the firm belief that everything that happens around us in one way or another has to do with us, as if we were influencing the course of it.
10. Fortune teller's mistake
This is to have a kind of accurate approximation and intuitive of something that is going to happen in the future (according to our perception of an event) and therefore, we act with respect to it. This is often used as an excuse to avoid something or to procrastinate.
This dissonance has to do with attributing to him a sense of extreme and unjustified responsibility either to oneself or to another person, without considering at all the involvement of others aspects. It is like be judge, jury and executioner at the same time.
12. The "shoulds"
'I shouldn't do that', 'it's better if I do that', 'they should listen to me'... The "shoulds" are considered as a social stigma that the person adopts to manage her life in a controlled and perfect way. Therefore, it does not leave space to commit an act that deviates from any regulations, but rather follow the rules rigidly and correctly, with no room for flexibility.
13. Be right
This is based on the frequent, repetitive and almost obsessive need to show every time you have the opportunity, that you are right about something, reaching the point of dismissing and humiliating the opinion of others. These people cannot even listen to other people's arguments that go in a different direction than their beliefs.
14. Change fallacy
This is another very common dissonance. It is about people having the firm conviction that their particular situation is influenced by the actions of those around them, so that if others change their own personal life, everything will to get better. This is because firmly believe that their world is completely dependent on others, instead of being the ones who must make the necessary changes.
15. Fallacy of justice
It is about considering as unfair all those things that happened that are not related to what people expect to happen or their beliefs. It's like the world was against him constantly. For example, it often happens with students who fail and think that it is due to an injustice committed against them and not because they have not dedicated effort to their studies.