Cognitive Dissonance Forum Responses
Respond to all 3 with a minimum 250 each. Must list references used.
Response 1 (Kenneth): Being active duty (20 years and counting), understanding Pat and his mindset is problematic me. However, I will give it a shot, as I have had several friends over the years that share the same beliefs as Pat. I assume that if I were Pat, I would be scared about the possibility of deploying to fight in any form of armed conflict. I would no doubt make the argument that I did not join the Army to fight a war; I joined to learn a skillset and for the college money. Having witnessed this first hand, I would assume I (Pat) would go out of my way to ensure I did not have to run off and fight someone else’s war. I do not have a problem with the people that have been labeled the “enemy.” I did not sign up for this, even though when I enlisted, I took an oath to, “support and defend the constitution of the United States of America, against all enemies, foreign and domestic (10 U.S. Code § 502 – Enlistment oath, 2018).”
Looking at the statement of “I support our troops, but I do not support the war,” I can tell you it has always confused me. While I understand the message, people are trying to convey, it just never made sense to me. Troops are meant to go to war, that is their job, regardless of what additional skillset they are trained in. This same cognitive dissonance (Aronson, 2012) can be applied to the saying, “I support my accountant, but I do not support taxes.” Without taxes, your account has no job. A Soldiers job is war, simple as that. Every Soldier I know will tell you that they wish they did not have to go to war, as warriors know the cost of war, and would prefer to avoid it. That being said, warriors are proud to go to war, to defend their homeland, their fellow citizens, and their way of life. As long as there are sheep, there will be wolves who want to harm them. This is where the sheepdog comes in, to protect the sheep. Pat needs to ask himself if he is the sheepdog or the sheep. He cannot be both. People who use the previously mentioned phase, need to realize this simple fact as well.
For this, I have picked a personal cognitive dissonance that I have. I am not a supporter of abortion in any way. I am pro-life and believe that regardless of the circumstances, many other options should be looked at and entertained before settling on abortion as the only option on the table. However, I also realize that this is only my opinion. I cannot look at each situation and say that abortion is the first option, not the last option. An example there would be the sexual assault of a mentally disabled girl or woman. Should she become pregnant, and her handicap is such that she cannot make an informed decision, or perhaps cannot even communicate her desire, as to what she would want to do for the baby, then perhaps abortion becomes a necessary evil. Again, not something I would advocate for, but would certainly understand the choice. I know that this topic is a sensitive one, but its one that I am not afraid to discuss. I have had Soldiers under my charge that have made this choice when faced with an unwanted pregnancy. In those situations, I did my best to lay out ALL options and then supported them in whatever choice they made.
10 U.S. Code § 502 – Enlistment oath. (2018, Nov 26). Retrieved from Cornell Law School: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/502
Aronson, E. (2012). The Social Animal. New York: Worth Publishers.
Response 2 (Ashley): 1) According to Wade and Tavris (2012), cognitive dissonance is more likely to occur under three distinct conditions: when people need to justify an action or choice that was freely made, when people need to justify behavior that conflicts with their view of themselves, and when people need to justify the effort used in making a decision or choice.
When we make our cognitions more compatible or consonant that assist our original cognitions. (Aronson, 2015) If I were Pat, I feel that it would be hard for me to be in a war that I don’t believe in, I would have to come up with many justifications to be sure that I felt better about having to fight in a war that I don’t agree with. I feel like Pat supports the troops but opposes the war, however now that he is in the military and fighting in the war, he may have a different viewpoint. The war may make him have excuses or justify his actions to where he believes that the war isn’t so bad. Pat may feel like he is doing good for his country by fighting in the war or he may love his job, so he agrees now that the war isn’t so bad. When people say that they support the troops but not the war because that is cognitive dissonance. Pat needs to justify his behavior because he must fight in the war, but he has to justify that because his family nor himself believe in it. The reason that people feel like they support the troops but not the war is because they feel bad because the troops are fighting for their freedoms, so they don’t have to worry about fighting for them, however they don’t agree with the war that the troops are fighting in. This helps those people feel less bad about their beliefs because they support the troops but not the war.
2) A major situation that I witness is people that are trying to lose weight, but they have unhealthy food choices during every lunch. This situation is described as cognitive dissonance because they truly want to lose weight and they justify their actions for making unhealthy food choices. Some of the examples are I will work it off in the gym, I only eat lunch, or I had a hard day today I deserve to eat this. This lets them justify their action, so they don’t feel as bad about making unhealthy choices.
Aronson, Elliot. The Social Animal, 11th Edition. Worth Publishers, 2015. [VitalSource].
Wade, C., & Tavris, C. (2012). Invitation to Psychology (5th Edition).
Boston: Prentice Hall.
Response 3 (Xavier): We all know that a military individual’s first job is to protect the United States and United States territories on foreign soil against all enemies. Cognitive dissonance is feelings of discomfort that result when your beliefs run counter to your behaviors and/or new information that is presented to you. Pat knew exactly what he was signing up for and knew that there was a possibility that he could be called to go to war. Pat is struggling facing the “now” factor that he has been called to go to war being that he went through his whole enlistment without a war breaking out. The influence of his family and other that were influential to him is what caused this cognitive dissonance, not his own belief against war. One cannot simply support the troops and not support the war being that the troops responsibility may come to going to war. Pats’ cognitive dissonance derived from the beliefs of his family. If I were pat I would learn to understand that my reasons for joining are fine but that I still had a job to do. If it meant being called into action then so be it. The fact that Pat mentally blocked out the possibility that he may go to work only makes me perceive as if he had hope not to go to work but not that he didn’t believe in it. Pat is a young man whom knew what he was getting into and just hope he would come out of his enlistment without going to work. The individuals whom say “I support the troops but I oppose the war”, are the ones whom are against violence in general. Protection comes at a cost always and sometimes that cost is the lives of the troops. But those individuals aren’t looking at the big picture. Whom, if not the military is suppose to protect America and its territories against individuals plotting to destroy our nation? Or what we stand for? War is apart of our world because not all of the countries in the world have found a way to get along with everyone. In terms of war, one cannot possibly have a belief system for supporting the troops but not war being that they go hand in hand and the troops priority above all else is protecting the American when told to do so. Those individuals that fought in those wars back then were forced to join. The United States had drafts and even some volunteered. Nowadays, you volunteer only if you want to join the military and serve. The only way we would go back to drafting is if our military forces dwindled in force which isn’t going to happen. A situation that I observed, more so on a daily basis is individuals whom smoke. The people that smoke know that it is harmful, but they still like to smoke.
Cherry, K. (2018). What is Cognitive Dissonance. VeryWell Mind.