Monday, October 30, 2017

ComTheory: Cognitive Dissonance and Filter Bubbles (W11-P2) [VID]

Listen to the following.

Do you like that music?  Did it make you feel uncomfortable?
Do you like feeling uncomfortable?
What did you do about it?   Turn it off?

Part of the problem with the music above is that there is dissonance in the music.

So far, from the musical reference above, we observe that dissonance is bad and we try to avoid it.

O.K. let's go from the musical use of the word dissonance to a psychological use of the word.

Leon Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory

Cognitive dissonance theory is based on two key ideas:

  • cognitive consistency: "The idea that people consciously and unconsciously work to preserve their existing views" (Baran & Davis).
  • cognitive dissonance: "Information that is inconsistent with an person's already-held attitudes creates psychological discomfort, or dissonance" (Baran & Davis).

The questions now arises, when we are faced with dissonance, what do we do? 
We use selective processes to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.

selective processes: "Exposure (attention), retention, and perception; psychological processes designed to reduce dissonance" (Baran & Davis).

The three selective processes

  1. selective exposure: "The idea that people tend to expose themselves to messages that are consistent with their preexisting attitudes and beliefs" (Baran & Davis).
  2. selective retention: "The idea that people tend to remember best and longest those messages that are most meaningful to them" (Baran & Davis).
  3. selective perception: "The idea that people will alter the meaning of messages so they become consistent with preexisting attitudes and beliefs" (Baran & Davis).

How does cognitive dissonance theory relate to the current societal problem of filter bubbles?

filter bubble: "a state of intellectual isolation that can result from personalized searches when a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user, such as location, past click-behavior and search history" (Wikipeida).

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