Ultimate Dissonance

Capuchins and four-year olds rationalize. And why not? Changing one's mind is a good emotion-protecting strategy whether faced with information that explodes cherished theories or minor preferences. Major preferences, like getting over a lost love, take a little longer.

The rationalization in question arises in response to a discrepancy between what we want/did/didn't do/expect and what we lost/didn't do/did do/got. Psychologists call it cognitive dissonance and today's NYT has an interesting article.

The ultimate dissonance? Blowing yourself to smithereens for someone else's political benefit on the promise of abundant virgins only to discover that you've been conned. No virgins. Not even used models. No nookies. Nada.

The good news? You've returned to nothingness, so you don't know you've been conned.

Cold comfort.

Articles
Go Ahead, Rationalize. Monkeys Do It, Too, John Tierney, New York Times, November 6, 2007. The Mystery of Buyer’s Remorse — Or, Should You Look for a Money-Back Guarantee?, John Tierney, NYT blog, 11/5/07
"The Origins of Cognitive Dissonance: Evidence From Children and Monkeys." Louisa C. Egan, Laurie R. Santos, Paul Bloom, Psychological Science, November 2007.
"Do Amnesics Exhibit Cognitive Dissonance Reduction?" Lieberman, M. D., Ochsner, K. N., Gilbert, D. T., & Schacter, D. L. Psychological Science, March 2001. (PDF)
"Cognitive Dissonance: Progress on a Pivotal Theory in Social Psychology." Edited by Eddie Harmon-Jones and Judson Mills. (American Psychological Association, 1999.)
"Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)." Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. (Harcourt, 2007.)

Blogs elsewhere rationalize like a monkey



Capuchin, cognitive dissonance, psychology,

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