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Cognitive Dissonance Essay

Solving a cognitive dissonance is a good way to look at all your cards on the table, so to speak. The definition of cognitive dissonance is “A feeling of discomfort caused by a discrepancy between an attitude and a behavior or between two attitudes.” (S.Carpenter, K. Huffman 2010). This is means that cognitive dissonance is a problem that involves how you feel and what you are doing to cause the problem. For an example: a man has stolen a car. He feels upset that he has stolen the car but he is in desperate need of money. The man’s attitude is that stealing is wrong and his behavior is that he has stolen a car.

To solve this cognitive dissonance, the man will have to either change his attitude (change his belief that stealing is wrong) or his behavior (Give back the car and never steal again). To solve cognitive dissonance you will have to, like I put it, put your cards on the table and resolve your problem(s). Like the stealing man I referenced, he noticed his problem was either his attitude for the whole thing or his behavior. To avoid cognitive dissonance, you can completely ignore the problem. Someone can be a doctor that chain smokes even though they have warned their patients of the dangers of smoking and completely ignore the attitude (guilt for being a hypocrite and endangering their own lives) and the behavior (smoking) and be a smoker without thinking anything wrong or good about it.

One example of cognitive dissonance that happened to me is the first and only time I cheated on a test back in high school. I needed to pass an exam because I was out sick for a month and my grade was low. A student was selling the test answers for five dollars and I bought one. When I took the test, I was felt guilty for cheating. My attitude was that cheating was wrong yet my behavior was that I was cheating on my test. I choose to fix my attitude on the grounds of that I REALLY needed to pass the test with flying colors and I felt that studying wasn’t going to cut it. It turns out that the test answers were from the wrong test and everyone who bought the answers, like me, failed. Luckily the teacher hated the turn out so much that she allowed everyone to retake it. I got a 95% on my own. I never cheated again.

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