COGNITIVE ASSONANCE

undefined definition of cognitive dissonance, cognitive consonance, cognitive assonance undefined

1a: COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is a psychological state, observed when a brain holds onto a belief (about reality) in the face of persistent contradictory evidence; by somehow ignoring it. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is stressful but not anywhere near as disturbing as having to explode a belief.

1b: The brain’s natural non-stress state, however, is COGNITIVE CONSONANCE. This is where belief is evidentially and consistently in alignment with reality and there are no contradictions.

2a: The opposite of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is COGNITIVE RESONANCE. COGNITIVE RESONANCE is an experience, in reality, that affirms COGNITIVE CONSONANCE i.e. belief and reality are in alignment.

2b: The less easily observed but nonetheless essential enabler of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is known as COGNITIVE ASSONANCE.

3: ASSONANCE recasts DISSONANCE with most of its stresses removed, to steer belief and reality into RESONANCE that’s experienced as CONSONANCE.


observed cognitive dissonance
(courtesy of a typical luddite)

We think of cognitive dissonance as holding two contradictory opinions in mind – believing both to be true – without ever having to choose one or throw one away because it’s contradictory, and that it requires an any-means-possible mental gymnastics to evade these contradictions; the bigger the contradiction, the greater the gymnastics needed.

But that may not always be true, especially when a lot of people are invested in the continuity of a contradiction in the face of efforts to expose it.

Religious faith and common denominator party political allegiance are two significant cognitive dissonances and, despite the former being a fantasy and the latter a submission of one’s individual moral character, both hold their own in the modern world.

How do these cognitive dissonances stay in tact, despite evidence (or absence of) or a personal hypocrisy at odds with the individual’s private moral code?

What if, rather than dissonance, it’s actually a cognitive assonance i.e. contradiction is maintained by as little dissonance as possible and this minor dissonance is honed by compatible better ideas so ends up being a cognitive assonance shared by a group who’re all, for instance, holding a bunch of bullshit opinions e.g. conservative+anti-abortion+hate-gays-gunrights-racism-anti-immigration-anti minimumwage-anti healthcare for all.