4. Ignore or deny information that conflicts with their existing beliefs. For example, “All that stuff is just ‘fake news,’ and you can’t trust it.”
The Bottom Line
When there is a conflict between our attitudes and our behavior, we tend to change our attitudes to make them consistent with our behavior rather than change our behavior to make it consistent with our attitudes.
Ideally, people would be rational beings who consistently adjust their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors to align them with new information that is essentially incontrovertible. But that is not the case. Indeed, there are many who still maintain that the earth is flat; or only 6,500 years old; that vaccines are a health hazard; that evolution is a falsehood; or that climate change is a hoax.
Unfortunately, many people are unwilling to change their worldview to account for new information that contradicts their cherished beliefs. Instead, they reduce dissonance by justifying their outlook rather than by changing their minds or behaviors. If science worked the way many people do, we would still be living in caves and dying in our 30s. But at least the planet’s ecological health would be vastly better—even if humans’ wasn’t.
Remember: Think well, act well, feel well, be well!
Copyright 2018 by Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D. This post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional assistance or personal mental health treatment by a qualified clinician.
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References: Festinger, L. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. California: Stanford University Press.
Written by: Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D Originally appeared on: Psychology Today Republished with permission