The concept of disequilibrium denotes a lack of balance (equilibrium) within schemes and operations. Cognitive dissonance can be likened to disequilibrium in that maintaining contradictory beliefs leads to feelings of discomfort and a desire to adjust those beliefs to remove any inconsistency. Schemes could be adjusted to accommodate the new information. Alternatively, the new information could be rejected and the scheme remains intact. The individual might seek out or interpret information so it supports their beliefs (known as confirmation bias). One real-life example of cognitive dissonance involves childhood vaccinations and autism. A number of parents have not had their children vaccinated because they believe vaccinations cause autism. Despite scientists being unable to find a link between childhood vaccinations and autism (CDC, 2015), the belief persists. As you read the McLeod and O’Leary articles, consider how these parents resolved their cognitive dissonance.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). CDC statement regarding 2004 Pediatrics article, “Age at first measles-mumps-rubella vaccination in children with autism and school-matched control subjects: A population-based study in metropolitan Atlanta.” Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism/cdc2004pediatrics.html
For this Assignment, you will examine cognitive dissonance through a specific scenario.
- Review the Cognitive Dissonance Scenarios found in this week’s Learning Resources and choose one of the following scenarios:
- Cognitive Dissonance Scenario #1
- Cognitive Dissonance Scenario #2
- Cognitive Dissonance Scenario #3
Identify the scenario you chose and based on this scenario, write a 2- to 3-page paper that includes the following:
- A definition of cognitive dissonance and a description of the dissonance present in the scenario you chose.
- Include two suggestions to resolve the dissonance: one using accommodation and one using assimilation, with a detailed explanation for each.
- Based on the Learning Resources from this week, explain which solution you think will be most effective in reducing dissonance and explain why.
Choose one of the scenarios:
Cognitive Dissonance Scenario #1 Coral is 30 years old and has lived in Texas, U.S., for the past five years. She works as a receptionist for an insurance company. Coral works long hours sitting behind a desk. After work she goes out to eat dinner with her friends, then goes home to watch television until bedtime. She has been steadily gaining weight due to her diet and sedentary lifestyle. She had a medical checkup when she turned 30 and her doctor told Coral that she is extremely overweight and that her blood test indicates she is pre-diabetic. The doctor has told her the best way reduce the likelihood of developing Type II diabetes is to lose weight through regular exercise and diet. Coral doesn’t know where she will find the time to exercise and she enjoys eating out too much to give that up.
Cognitive Dissonance Scenario #2 Stefan is a conscientious grade school teacher. He values his job and cares about his students. Stefan is also a camping enthusiast who prides himself on having the latest and best equipment. He discovered a new piece of camping equipment that was required for his next big trip and eagerly ordered it online. The next day, Stefan reads that the equipment was manufactured using child labor and at least one child is reported to have died.
Cognitive Dissonance Scenario #3 Jenny is a 45-year-old smoker who also has a family history of lung cancer. Her father, who was also a smoker, died of lung cancer. Her last physical revealed that she is suffering from high blood pressure and her doctor advised her to quit smoking due to all the associated health risks. However, Jenny not only enjoys smoking but also believes that it provides great help when she is stressed out. She also believes that if she quits smoking, she will put on weight.