Adult Education
What is Cognitive Dissonance?
by:Divine Fractal

Cognitive dissonance, is the mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information.

For example: If you were brought up to believe that no other life exists in the universe outside of earth, and then you have an encounter with
an extra terrestrial, you would likely encounter cognitive dissonance.

“The unease that is aroused is a defensive mechanism for the brain. The new information needs to be assimilated.”

A person may reject or avoid the new information. They may try to convince themselves that the conflict does not exist or they may attempt to reconcile the differences. Many people learning about contradictions in written history and actual history encounter cognitive dissonance at some point. It is possible to encounter cognitive dissonance every time new information that contradicts old paradigms must be assimilated.


How can you deal with cognitive dissonance? First, be gentle with yourself. You may need to take a break from researching for a little while. Second, know that you are not alone. Most people encounter cognitive dissonance at some point while they are learning and
encountering new information. If you feel overwhelmed, here are some suggestions to help:

  1. Rest. Sometimes you just need a little time to adjust.

  2. Work on a hobby you enjoy. Maybe that is painting, writing, playing a sport, or just watching a funny movie.

  3. Spend time with friends. Whether in person, or online, time with friends can be helpful.

  4. Self-care. Make sure you are eating well, drinking enough water, and sleeping on a regular schedule.

  5. Know that it will pass. You brain has sophisticated adaptation abilities. In time, perhaps hours, a week, or a bit longer, it will pass and you will feel able to deal with the next thing you choose to learn about!


Further links for research and ideas:

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