Week 12 First Impression

Cognitive dissonance has been a prominent feeling in communication since its early development. Everyone has the privilege of free thought, yet there is a frequent need in modern civilization to say the things we need to say in order to gain something. While this may not always mean downright lying, it can still bring an inauthentic result.

An example of cognitive dissonance in my own life is actually what was a long-term experience in my life and education growing up. I grew up in the Catholic Church and never shared the same beliefs with the people around me. However, my entire social environment (my school, my church community, and my family) was Roman Catholic. I essentially had no non-Catholic social outlet until the ninth grade, therefore I had to convince my environment that I shared the same beliefs. This led me to experience cognitive dissonance daily, as my responses to questions even in class often needed to acknowledge the existence and role of God. If I did not incorporate religion into the way I communicated, there was a major social risk. Therefore, cognitive dissonance became a constant in my upbringing.

I personally think that cognitive dissonance is ultimately a positive thing, since it leads to a better sense of control when we speak. If we were not to feel that discomfort, we may end up saying something that could compromise whatever gain there would be from giving the needed response, regardless of whether or not that answer feels true to ourselves. I wouldn’t go as far as to say we should promote cognitive dissonance, but I would say we should promote strategic communication, as there are many benefits from it in our careers. Cognitive dissonance is not as deliberate as strategic communication or decision making, as that state of discomfort occurs on its own. Though we are rarely conscious of it, cognitive dissonance serves a great purpose.



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