Monday, March 16, 2009

Understanding Cognitive Dissonance Part VIII: A Summary That Goes Back to the Beginning

Revisiting old posts from
Under Much Grace, posted in 2007

Closing the Ideological Sale

Indoctrination and reinforcement of the changed aspects of self that have been set off balance through cognitive dissonance are often accomplished through social mentoring and this helps solidify the transformation. So if I can get you to feel something, the quicker that I can get you to behave in accordance with your feelings, the more solid the transformation becomes.
"Can you say, Amen?" That's a "three-fer." I've invited you to think in agreement with me, I've asked you to respond with an action of repeating me, and I've likely engaged your emotion. The quicker that I can get you to reinforce the shift or change, the better. This is great to know when buying a car. The salesman wants you to get in the car, drive it, love it and want it. If he can get your name and number (if you weren't absolutely determined to consider buying the car), and you like him, he's much closer to closing the sale. The quicker that he can facilitate this, all the better.

The double bind is a type of cognitive dissonance wherein you are "damned if you do and damned if you don't." Jesus referred to the technique of the “double bind” when he chastised the Pharisees for their “thought stopping” riddle regarding swearing by the temple, which meant nothing, versus the more binding oath of swearing by the gold of the temple.

Matthew 23:16-17 (King James Version)

Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?

Contradictory and/or complex information communicated congruently and simultaneously causes temporary confusion and disorientation (e.g., The harder I try to understand, the more I will never understand. Understand?) The Pharisees were intimidating (emotion) and demanded others to agree. They also wanted to solicit behavior and modeled it for others.
Such a divisive presentation of information in a controlled environment and in pressured conversation induces most people to respond by a temporary suspension of thought. There you are, in front of a Pharisee, and you are under pressure. They are also dangling your eternal fate over your own head, baiting you to comply. Resistance isn't futile, but it is often difficult under certain circumstances. This causes adaptation of behavior to fit the circumstance created to establish dominance and manipulative control over the will of the individual.

That's one way that thought reform can go to church or meet you at the door when you arrive.