Cognitive Dissonance


Dean Gotcher

"Change in organization can be derived from the overlapping between play [sensuousness, desiring to please the other children, approaching pleasure and avoiding pain] and barrier [righteousness, desiring to please the father/Father, doing right and not wrong according to his/His will] behavior."  "This should lead to a decrease in degree of hierarchical [righteousness] organization.... a certain disorganization ['cognitive dissonance,' where a person is caught between his belief, i.e., of the system of righteousness, and his behavior, i.e., of the system of sensuousness—"The lack of harmony between what one does and what one believes." "The pressure to change either one’s behavior or ones belief." (Ernest R. Hilgard, Introduction to Psychology)] should result .... the forces under the control of one head have to counteract the forces of the other before they are effective [either righteousness, i.e., the parent's authority, with the child refusing to participate, i.e. refusing to "unfreeze, move, and refreeze," i.e. refusing to praxis 'change' or sensuousness, the child's nature, i.e., the child's desires and dissatisfactions, and the dialectical process, i.e., "self 'justification'" rules the day]."  (Barker, Dembo, & Lewin, "frustration and regression: an experiment with young children" in Child Behavior and Development)

"Change in methods of leadership is probably the quickest way to bring about a change in the cultural atmosphere of a group."  "Any real change of the culture of a group is, therefore, interwoven with the changes of the power constellation within the group."  "The individual accepts the new system of values and beliefs by accepting belongingness to a group." (ibid). By leadership simply moving communication in the classroom from their preaching commands and rules to be obeyed as given, i.e., without question and teaching facts and truth to be accepted as is, by faith, (with discussion of any misunderstandings being at their discretion, with them being the final authority), to where the children are "encouraged" to dialogue their opinions to a consensus, the children's' system of values and beliefs are changed from individualism (under God) to socialism. In this time of 'change,' all children must pass through a time of cognitive dissonance where commands, rules, facts, and truth are made subject to their feelings of the 'moment,' negating parental authority and the guilty conscience for doing wrong (for disobedience) in the process.

"Without exception, patients enter group therapy with the history of a highly unsatisfactory experience in their first and most important group—their primary family [the traditional home]."  (Irvin Yalom,  Theory and Practice and Group Psychotherapy)

"What better way to help the patient [the child/the student] recapture the past than to allow him to re-experience and reenact ancient feelings toward parents in his current relationship to the therapist [to the facilitator]? The therapist [the facilitator] is the living personification of all parental images [takes the place of the parent].  Group therapists [facilitators] refuse to fill the traditional authority role: they do not lead in the ordinary manner, they do not provide answers and solutions, they urge the group [the children/the students] to explore and to employ its own resources. The group [the children/the students] [must] feel free to confront the therapist [the facilitator], who must not only permit, but encourage, such confrontation. He [the child/the student] reenacts early family scripts in the group and, if therapy is successful, is able to experiment with new behavior, to break free from the locked family role he once occupied. … the patient [the child/the student] changes the past by reconstituting it." (ibid.)

"In the group not only must the individual strive for autonomy but the leader must be willing to allow him to do so. … an individual's behavior cannot be fully understood without an appreciation of his environmental press.  …one member's behavior is not understandable out of context of the entire group. …there is no more important issue than the interrelationship of the group members.  … few individuals, as Asch has shown, can maintain their objectivity in the face of apparent group unanimity; and the individual rejects critical feelings toward the group at this time to avoid a state of cognitive dissonance.  To question the value or activities of the group, would be to thrust himself into a state of dissonance.  Long cherished but self-defeating beliefs and attitudes may waver and decompose in the face of a dissenting majority. One of the most difficult patients for me to work with in groups is the individual who employs fundamentalist religious views in the service of denial. The ‘third force' in psychology … which emphasized a holistic, humanistic concept of the person, provided impetus and form to the encounter group … The therapist assists the patient to clarify the nature of the imagined danger and then … to detoxify, to disconfirm the reality of this danger. By shifting the group's attention from ‘then-and-there' [parental authority] to ‘here-and-now' [their feelings of the 'moment'] material, he performs a service to the group … focusing the group upon itself.  Members must develop a feeling of mutual trust and respect and must come to value the group as an important means of meeting their personal needs. Once a member realizes that others accept him and are trying to understand him, then he finds it less necessary to hold rigidly to his own beliefs; and he may be willing to explore previously denied aspects of himself.  Patients should be encouraged to take risks in the group; such behavior change results in positive feedback and reinforcement and encourages further risk-taking.  Members learn about the impact of their behavior on the feelings of other members. …a patient might, with further change, outgrow … his spouse … unless concomitant changes occur in the spouse."  (ibid.)

"Educational procedures are intended to develop the more desirable rather than the more customary types of behavior." "The student must feel free to say he disliked _____ and not have to worry about being punished for his reaction." (Benjamin Bloom, et al., Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Book 1, Cognitive Domain)

"To create effectively a new set of attitudes and values, the individual must undergo great reorganization of his personal beliefs and attitudes and he must be involved in an environment which in may ways is separated from the previous environment in which he was developed.... many of these changes are produced by association with peers who have less authoritarian points of view, as well as through the impact of a great many courses of study in which the authoritarian pattern is in some ways brought into question while more rational and nonauthoritarian behaviors are emphasized." (David Krathwohl, Benjamin Bloom et al. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives Book 2: Affective Domain)

© Institution for Authority Research, Dean Gotcher 2016