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Cognitive Dissonance
Posted: 04 November 2007 08:31 PM   [ Ignore ]
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It’s a phrase I’m hearing increasingly.

I’m one of those really weird people who think that both the Twin Towers and (more tellingly) WTC 7 were levelled by contolled demolition. The term “Cognitive Dissonance” is often employed by like-minded individuals to somehow assuage the psychological shortcomings of the masses who consider that these buildings were vapourized into their own footprint because jet-liners hit them.

Well, y’know: two of them, at any rate.

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Posted: 04 November 2007 10:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I thought cognitive dissonance was specifically NOT believing what you see with your own two eyes, such as when I look at my pile of dirty dishes or the mess in the back yard—or transmogrifying what you see to comport with your own pre-existing belief structure.  You’re saying cognitive dissonance is processing and believing what you’re actually being shown and told, exactly as it is being presented, but (I suppose) only as it conforms with those belief structures—ignoring evidence offered to the contrary because it does not conform. Picking and choosing. This last is pretty much what I experience when I look at pictures of myself. So in other words, if you show people a picture that challenges that belief structure they just say, well, it was a bad angle. Most people just go with the “preponderance of the evidence” approach. I’m betting that cognitive dissonance has to do with an individual whose will structure is so rigid that contrary facts threaten its maintainance. In other words, you show somebody a picture of a poodle and they see a cat, because poodles don’t fit in to their preconceptions.

The term seems inaptly chosen because it literally refers to sounds (Latin sonare) much like dischord. Perhaps “cognitive disjuncture” would have been better. Atonement, oddly enough, has nothing to do with tone but comes from “at one” (AHD).

Don’t get into the specifics of 9/11 or Dave will rightfully shut down the discussion. I’m not any kind of proponent about anything about 9/11, but the subject of how we perceive is interesting enough.

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Posted: 05 November 2007 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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[q]Don’t get into the specifics of 9/11 or Dave will rightfully shut down the discussion.[/q]

I beg your pardon?

A legitimate discussion would be curtailed?

Quelle Horreur....

This appears to be a pretty intelligent discussion forum.

On what grounds would mouths be taped?

edit: incidentally, I take your point about “cognitive dysjuncture”..... perhaps a more thoughtful re-assembly of thought than I’m actually capable of.

But I stoically re-iterate that to shut this conversation down would be thoughtless.

[ Edited: 05 November 2007 12:09 AM by GIANT ]
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Posted: 05 November 2007 04:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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In this forum legitimate discussions are discussions about words and word origins.

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Posted: 05 November 2007 06:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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And most definitely not a place to get into arguments about politics, religion, etc.  There are plenty of other forums (or, if you prefer, fora) to discuss your pet theories.

There’s a good discussion of the phrase at Wikipedia:

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term describing the uncomfortable tension that may result from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one’s beliefs, or from experiencing apparently conflicting phenomena…

Social psychologist Leon Festinger first proposed the theory in 1957 after the publication of his book When Prophecy Fails, observing the counterintuitive belief persistence of members of a UFO doomsday cult and their increased proselytization after the leader’s prophecy failed. The failed message of earth’s destruction, purportedly sent by aliens to a woman in 1956, became a disconfirmed expectancy that increased dissonance between cognitions, thereby causing most members of the impromptu cult to lessen the dissonance by accepting a new prophecy: that the aliens had instead spared the planet for their sake.

In popular usage, it can be associated with the tendency for people to resist information that they don’t want to think about, because if they did it would create cognitive dissonance, and perhaps require them to act in ways that depart from their comfortable habits. They usually have at least partial awareness of the information, without having moved to full acceptance of it, and are thus in a state of denial about it.

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Posted: 05 November 2007 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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No sign of the phrase in OED which rather surprised me. I see the theory has been around since 1957 but does thay mean Festinger came up with the term too?

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Posted: 05 November 2007 07:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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There is no issue with discussing cognitive dissonance here or even of mentioning the WTC demolition theory as an example of it. But to start discussing details and merits of the theory is clearly off topic and inappropriate. (Nothing said so far in this thread is objectionable.)

As a general rule, if you are thinking about using a political or religious topic as an example, try instead to find and use an uncontroversial example to make your point.

The reason behind this is not to muzzle ideas or expression, but to keep this forum as a place free of off-topic, controversies so that discussion of word origins and language can proceed unimpeded.

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Posted: 05 November 2007 08:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Dave Wilton - 05 November 2007 07:09 AM

Nothing said so far in this thread is objectionable.

My “psychological shortcomings” object.

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Posted: 05 November 2007 10:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Apologies if any offence was caused as none was intended.

I cited the example to give, not only context, but in fact the only context within which I have the expression “Cognitive Dissonance”.

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Posted: 05 November 2007 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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No prob. It was a warning based on many experiences from the past where people insisted on pushing an agenda. You seem reasonable. Why not respond? My little diatribe was pretty much off the top of my head, and in fact I know little about “cognitive dissonance.”

I have heard, however, researchers in brain physiology discuss the fact that the subconscious mind filters the thousands, millions of bits of data we are continuously receiving just so that the conscious mind can operate. My own understanding is that life is often a filtering process, where cognitive dissonance is a constant. “I have to get up in the morning to go to a job I don’t particularly like to feed the family so I’m not a schmuck in the eyes of people I care about.” or: “Hmmm ... the sun is bright but the air is cold.” or:"Damn! My shoe is untied and I have to run across the street to avoid a truck.” or: “I’m hungry and all I’ve got to eat is two eggs, but I don’t feel like going to the store.” or:"That’s a really beautiful butterfly and I just stepped in a pile of...”

Music is sometimes perfect. Mathematics is capable of perfection. Lifes sucks except when it’s excellent, or at least kind of cool. “Received wisdom” is either highly suspect or your only possible lifeline.

Good luck in your endeavors.

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Posted: 05 November 2007 11:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Many thanks, Senor Pyrite; most noble of you.

Incidentally, the word is “endeavoUrs”

%-P (edit - this a corrupted smilie !!)

Incidentally (again...yeah,yeah, ....I know...)

Is there a thread that one of you fine gentlemen can point me in the right direction of that addresses the bastardisation (bastardiZation ?) of English.

Or at least the Americanis(Z)ation of it.....

I like this site.

Forgive my clumsy entry....it’s a rather interesting phenomenon how newcomers are often given short-shrift without first reflecting on dis-orientation.

“Short-shrift” - now there’s a puzzle!

[ Edited: 06 November 2007 12:09 AM by GIANT ]
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Posted: 06 November 2007 03:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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GIANT - 05 November 2007 11:52 PM

“Short-shrift” - now there’s a puzzle!

One of the great things about this forum is that it’s associatied with a collection of curious phrases explained.  Go to the top of the page and click on The Big List.  You can eventually navigate to the entry on Short Shrift.

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Posted: 06 November 2007 03:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Top Hole!

Many thanks....

...."Top Hole”

Now there’s a puzzle unaddressed by “The Big List”.....

[ Edited: 06 November 2007 03:55 AM by GIANT ]
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Posted: 06 November 2007 05:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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GIANT - 05 November 2007 11:52 PM

it’s a rather interesting phenomenon how newcomers are often given short-shrift without first reflecting on dis-orientation.

So you blame saying a great many people are bastards with psychological shortcomings on “dis-orientation”?

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Posted: 06 November 2007 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The science section of today’s NY Times has an interesting article on scientific research on cognitive dissonance that states that the term was coined by “social psychologist Leon Festinger” as a result of experiments conducted in 1956.

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Posted: 06 November 2007 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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As mentioned in my previous comment.

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