Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance.

Here is an interesting principle, cognitive dissonance, it's the recognition of two contradictory perceptions, and it usually yields to amending one of the perceptions to become more resonant with the other. The perception that is amended is usually the subordinate of the two.

A very common example, buyer's remorse: Most people have the perception that their purchasing decisions are prudent, wise, and well thought out. Hence, when they spent large amounts of money on something that doesn't yield immediate value, they begin to artificially "bump up" the value of that thing, in order to avoid the dissonance with the stronger perception: I'm a wise purchaser.

Another example is investor strategy and loss. People believe they are wise stock investors, so they put money into a stock, it goes down, and they put more, and repeat the process - all because there's an underlying belief they are good investors, and the stock will eventually turn up. But what ends up happening? either you cut your losses, or go down with the ship.

There is a direct parallel here with women, and their choice of men. While it's clear society privileges women to choose their mates, it implies to most women they are innately better selectors (ie men are superficial, only care about looks, women are more mature, and choose based on personality!) This makes women convince themselves they are great selectors of the men they choose to have in their lives, so much that it becomes a firmly rooted principle.

Therefore, when guys treat them poorly, or is a general prick, they bump up their value, as it resolves the cognitive dissonance with the underlying principle they already have: I'm a smart chooser. Ultimately of course, it's the women that suffer by clinging to the belief they are "good selectors" - and sadly many go down with the ship.

Whats the solution?

It all comes back to equality really. If women actually work to erase the outdated gender model that they are "selectors" and it's the man's job to "chase" them, then *they* will ultimately benefit as they won't be constantly reinforcing to themselves they are "good" at mate selection, and perverting reality in their own minds, in order to avoid the cognitive dissonance.
A societal pressure for men to approach, and be more 'pro-active', has a flip-side:

A society that pressures women to be constant receivers of that information, and by extension, skilled evaluators - which evidence clearly states, they are not. So for their own good, women must actively choose to believe in equality thoroughly and completely, without exceptions and selectivity many normally apply.

*as a side note, if history is any guide, you can never convince ANYONE to undergo a course of action because it's morally correct (ie. pursue a just cause for equality, for equalities sake), rather you have to show how a course of action ( no matter how correct it is, in *principle*), will directly benefit THEM.

And there you go.

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