Deciphering the dissonances – Emprendedores News

Cognitive dissonance occurs when evidence challenges a significant belief. This lack of harmony is usually uncomfortable.

A kind of disappointment invades those who try to solve challenges posed in the puzzle format. It often happens that when they know the answer, they wonder why they hadn't thought of the solution. The curious thing is that most cannot solve them. This is the case of a study where this challenge was used to study the functioning of the brain:

A doctor and his son are traveling on a highway and have a serious accident. The father dies and the son needs a complex emergency surgery for which a medical eminence is summoned to operate on him. The eminence, upon entering the operating room, says: “I cannot operate on him because he is my son.” How is this explained if the young man's father is dead?

Why couldn't the majority solve it? What affected them is an implicit gender bias, an automatic bias that explains why even the most feminist people don't solve the puzzle by simply thinking that the eminence is a woman.

This implicit gender bias has its roots in childhood, when associations between concepts and memories are unconsciously created in the brain.

The unconscious brain, which we inherited from the reptile, does not reason with words, but rather learns that things are related in a certain way and neurons connect them. They are cultural associations that are set as traces for life, they are part of evolutionary development, they help to navigate the world, to categorize on autopilot people and situations that could represent danger and to decide quickly.

In another study, it was found that both men and women are more willing to employ male candidates, as well as give them a higher rating in ability and pay them more than women. The majority, including the most pro-egalitarian, do not know that they carry these cultural biases that affect them as much as the decisions they make.

To demonstrate that dissonance could be used to motivate people to follow guidelines, making a public statement was conceived as fundamental to behavior change.

Cognitive dissonance, a tension of holding ideas that are contradictory to beliefs, occurs when evidence challenges a significant belief. This lack of harmony is usually uncomfortable.

One of the most cited examples is that of smokers. If you smoke three packs of cigarettes a day, and you hear that smoking causes cancer, those two cognitions are dissonant, assuming you don't want to die horribly early. It is difficult for them to deny both realities, so they try to justify themselves by saying 'So what? Tomorrow I could get hit by a car.' Smokers may look for justifications such as “what's the point of living long if you can't enjoy life.” Thus they reduce cognitive dissonance by distorting the information they receive.

The hypocrisy paradigm is evident in situations where our actions contradict our beliefs, such as loving animals but eating them. Or buy cheap clothes without paying attention to the working conditions of those who make them.

The theory of cognitive dissonance can be a powerful instrument for understanding today's world, as it is found in politics, social networks, and even science.

The question is what we do with it. If we hold on to our beliefs, no arguments will lead us to moderate our views, but rather to entrench ourselves in them.

Perhaps by recognizing that this mental process happens to all of us, we can consider our positions more reasonably and self-examination could lead to dialogue and thus achieve cognitive consonances overcoming dissonances.