Browsing by Subject "cognitive dissonance"

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  • Kaaronen, Roope Oskari (2018)
    This article is a comparative study between predictive processing (PP, or predictive coding) and cognitive dissonance (CD) theory. The theory of CD, one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology, is shown to be highly compatible with recent developments in PP. This is particularly evident in the notion that both theories deal with strategies to reduce perceived error signals. However, reasons exist to update the theory of CD to one of “predictive dissonance.” First, the hierarchical PP framework can be helpful in understanding varying nested levels of CD. If dissonance arises from a cascade of downstream and lateral predictions and consequent prediction errors, dissonance can exist at a multitude of scales, all the way up from sensory perception to higher order cognitions. This helps understand the previously problematic dichotomy between “dissonant cognitive relations” and “dissonant psychological states,” which are part of the same perception-action process while still hierarchically distinct. Second, since PP is action-oriented, it can be read to support recent action-based models of CD. Third, PP can potentially help us understand the recently speculated evolutionary origins of CD. Here, the argument is that responses to CD can instill meta-learning which serves to prevent the overfitting of generative models to ephemeral local conditions. This can increase action-oriented ecological rationality and enhanced capabilities to interact with a rich landscape of affordances. The downside is that in today’s world where social institutions such as science a priori separate noise from signal, some reactions to predictive dissonance might propagate ecologically unsound (underfitted, confirmation-biased) mental models such as climate denialism.
  • Fernández-Llamazares, Álvaro; Western, David; Galvin, Kathleen A.; McElwee, Pamela; Cabeza, Mar (2020)
    Local attitudes towards wildlife encompass environmental, political, sociocultural and psychological dimensions that shape human-wildlife interactions and conservation efforts. Although the political and sociocultural dimensions of these interactions have been extensively examined by political ecologists and cultural anthropologists, psychological aspects have remained largely untapped so far. This article presents an in-depth review of a long historical record of changing attitudes towards wildlife among Maasai pastoralists of the Amboseli Ecosystem in southern Kenya, examining their shifts in light of different conservation psychology theories. The historical changes are reviewed in relation to three theories of attitudinal shifts (i.e., cognitive dissonance, reactance, and motivation crowding theory) and discussed in a context of land dispossession, conservation policies and changes in Maasai lifestyles and cultural values. We conclude that conservation psychology adds an important dimension to understanding attitudes towards wildlife and how they bear on conservation policies and practices.
  • Cantell, Mikko (2007)
    The weight of neoconservative ideology in world politics is generally identified and acknowledged. In spite of this more profound studies are found wanting. I attempt to make the ideology more understandable and approach it from a distinct point of view, examining neoconservatism's attitude to torture in the United States' 'Global War on Terror'. In so doing, my aim is also to clarify the thus far somewhat vague distinction between the current U.S. administration and neoconservatism in political and academic writing. I have utilized the theory of cognitive dissonance created by Leon Festinger to study the mechanisms in play concerning the different attitudes toward the use of torture. The theory has so far found very few applications in the study of international relations, but I believe there to be significant potential in its future use. On a more concrete level, I undertake to examine whether the core values of neoconservatism (human rights, liberal democracy, 'American values' and 'moral use of power') on the one hand, and condoning attitudes toward the use of torture on the other, give rise to an intolerable inner conflict that could be called cognitive dissonance. The use of torture is absolutely prohibited in international law, standards and norms. The most central internationally binding legal obligation prohibiting the use of torture is the Convention against Torture from 1984. The convention prohibits the use of torture in all cases and without exception. My study examines the question of torture in the context of the 'War on Terror' and the relation of torture to the individual. The individual rises in fact to be one of the most salient levels of analysis in the paper: each of neoconservatism's core values can be said to be based on defending the rights of the individual while torture can simultaneously be defined as being the ultimate denial of the individual worth and dignity. I conclude my study by asserting that neoconservatism's attitude toward torture has led to severe conflicts with its own core values. Although accurate definitions of the mechanisms used in alleviating the dissonance are impossible to find, the study gives evidence indicating that denial of responsibility and a rearranging of the hierarchy of internal values can have been included in the reduction of dissonance. I consider the notion that attempts to reduce dissonance typically 'spill over' to other seemingly unattached areas of decision-making very important. This means that in addition to core values or the fundamental level of ideology, past decisions also influence future decisions.