The Cognitive Dissonance Theory

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Cognitive dissonance can be found daily in any lifestyle. No one is perfect, people from any social or political status can be affected by cognitive dissonance. However, it is important that the law enforcement attempt to prevent cognitive dissonance from affecting decisions made. Especially, when someone involved in law enforcement has knowingly made a wrongful decision and is attempting to justify it not only to themselves but others. Cognitive Dissonance is defined as the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude. It is the discomfort someone experiences when they have two beliefs that contradict each other. The article Cognitive Dissonance Theory by Andrea …show more content…
The authors propose a method for reducing hypothetical bias based on the cognitive dissonance theory in psychology. A main element of the cognitive dissonance theory is that people do not want to take inconsistent stands and will change their attitudes and behavior to make them consistent. It was presented that participants in a willing-to-pay study were found to adjust their stated willing-to-pay amount to avoid cognitive dissonance. It is all about keeping consistent mental processes and avoiding inconsistent stands that can affect their consistent …show more content…
A classic example is with police who later find out they imprisoned an innocent person, but even after rock hard evidence that the person is innocent, the police and prosecutors will continue to believe that they did the right thing by putting that person in jail. In the book Mistakes Were Made, But Not by Me, by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, this situation is described through a personal memory full of feelings and emotions, that turned out to be wrong. The authors state that “Being absolutely, positively sure a memory is accurate does not mean that it is; our errors in memory support our current feelings and beliefs.” (Tavris and Aronson). Cognitive dissonance in law enforcement is not something that can be overlooked because the decision being made affects someone's life. So how do we overcome or prevent this from happening? Some believe that there is a specific personality or mentality that comes with being a police officer. This is because of people believing everything they see in the media. According to the article Police Personality: Fact or Fiction, by Robert Balch, the media depicts the typical policeman to be “... cynical, suspicious, and conservative…”(Balch 1). But not all policemen fit this

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