15 May 2015

Cognitive Dissonance and Violence

Here's a short video on an old cognitive dissonance experiment:


I thought it was interesting, the idea that if a person was paid more to lie, they experienced no dissonance. But a person who was paid little to lie experienced dissonance, but managed it away to become committed to the lie - so much so that it was no longer a lie for them.

Is cognitive dissonance simply hypocrisy's cause and effect? Would managing people with this knowledge be a form of violence..?

Apart from this offering an explanation as to how and why political masters and their (public) servants get away with lies to their constituents, it offers me some angle on the notion of bad faith.

I've been using the phrase 'bad faith' to frame how an organisation, institution or culture might say one thing and do quite the opposite - academic capitalism for example.

Wider still, is there a connection between cognitive dissonance and domestic violence - where violence is not necessarily physical, it is emotional manipulation for power and control. I think it certainly would be if a 3rd person was knowingly manipulating someone through cognitive dissonance. In these terms domestic violence links to another form of violence we call bullying, or workplace violence.

Is workplace violence a product of institutionalised cognitive dissonance? What is institutional violence? What is a culture of violence? Australia's, or the cultures of the English maybe.

1 comment:

Steven Parker said...

Great post Leigh. The 'Bad faith' of harnessing cognitive dissonance reminds me of the knowing boasting of Aldous Huxley in how to psychologically manipulate people to get them to 'love their servitude' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PbhkML007Q. Yes very Anglo American culturally.