Impact of Cognitive Dissonance

When our beliefs come into conflict (are not consistent) with other beliefs or with newly discovered evidence, disharmony results. This disharmony causes discomfort, and we experience a powerful motivation to reduce this discomfort. I want to focus on the kinds techniques people use to alleviate the discomfort they experience when the evidence (presented by news, research, events, experience, or by you) is inconsistent with the "beliefs" they currently have. THE PEOPLE STILL DO NOT KNOW SO MUCH. By being aware of the impact of cognitive dissonance, you can present information in ways that make it more likely to be, if not accepted, then at least not immediately rejected.

Cognitive dissonance is a very powerful motivator which will often lead us to change one or other of the conflicting belief or action. The discomfort often feels like a tension between the two opposing thoughts. To release the tension we can take one of three actions:

Change our behavior.
Justify our behavior by changing the conflicting cognition.
Justify our behavior by adding new cognitions.

We know that this administration and its advocates use techniques and procedures so expertly demonstrated by the Nazis in Germany to manipulate the perceptions of truth among the population. Al Gore discusses this extensively in a speech at NYU (at time hack 27:20, he mentions "the administation has developed an effective propaganda machine to embed in the public mind mythologies.")

Automatic Believing
Assessment and decision takes time and energy, so the more tired people get or more distracted by other things, the more they are likely to believe false information.

Persuade people when they are tired distracted. Make them tired by spending a long time with them in exhausting activities, physical or mental. Distract them by giving them a lot of information or points of special interest and then slipping in the thing you really want them to believe.

These embedded myths become the very beliefs that are in place and against which contradictory evidence causes the cognitive dissonance which individuals are motivated to reduce.