Steel Notes Magazine October "Halloween" Issue 2016 - Page 93

www.steelnotesmagazine.com However, it is not always possible to remove dissonance by changing our behavior. Sometimes the obstacles may be too difficult to overcome. For example, for a gambler who loses a large sum of money, it is quite difficult to reverse the decision to gamble. So, more frequently, dissonance reduction occurs through the change in our beliefs through openness to new knowledge or information. Then, in this case, we reevaluate the considerations that led us to make that decision. The cognitive dissonance theory explains why, in some situations, people are able to make reprehensible actions by accepting and justifying their behavior. For example, if you do not pay taxes, you could feel a cognitive dissonance. Consciously you know that this action is not socially acceptable and is probably contrary to the principles by which your parents have raised you. To reduce discomfort, you can try to reevaluate your position and give greater weight to those aspects in favor of your choice not to pay taxes by thinking, for example, that the tax is unfair or there are too many taxes, etc. The cognitive dissonance theory also explains why people sometimes express approval and appreciation for unpleasant experiences that occurred the past. For example, people who have suffered corporal punishment at school have sometimes claimed to have found benefit from such treatment and, as a result, they support coercive methods of discipline. Also, the members of groups who are forced to endure humiliating initiation rites later tend to reevaluate the experience, considering it to have been formative. In this case, they justify Steel Notes Magazine the painful experiences and overestimate the status of the group responsible for the suffering they endured. In short, to simplify, it is as though we are not telling ourselves the whole story—just like the fox in Phaedrus’s fable, commenting on grapes that it could not grasp: nondum mature est! Steel Notes Magazine www.steelnotesmagazine.com 93