Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Increase Your Vocabulary - "Aroused Dissonance"

No, it has nothing to do with how you're feeling down below. "Aroused Dissonance" is, according to Bloomberg, a term coined by Ottawa U psychologists Karen Lavergne and Luc Pelletier to describe "the mental friction of not wanting to ruin the planet, but also not wanting to stop acting like a typical Western consumer."

People respond to such dissonance in one of two ways: They change their behavior, or they engage in "cognitive restructuring" -- "trivializing pro-environmental attitudes" to make themselves feel less guilty.

How can governments encourage more of the first response and less of the second? According to Lavergne and Pelletier, what matters is the way people are motivated to change: When they feel pressured, they dismiss the problem. Lavergne wrote by e-mail that a better approach is getting people to believe in the change they're supposed to make:

"This could be achieved by including stakeholders in the decision-making and policy formulation processes, offering people several options and alternatives to choose from in terms of adopting new pro-environmental behaviours, providing positive and constructive feedback to people about their progress towards their pro-environmental goals in real time, and acknowledging the day-to-day dilemmas, challenges, and barriers people are likely to face in a non-judgmental way as well as offering advice on how to overcome them."

The Bloomberg article goes on to examine other research that seems to suggest, when it comes to humankind, the "boiling frog" syndrome is very real.


DazD said...

Dissonance? Wanting to keep the planet healthy and at the same time not being a frivolously over-consuming narcissist? No dissonance there. Sorry, but I don't get your thesis.

The Mound of Sound said...

DazD - sorry, I seem to have given you the impression that it's my theory. You seem to have missed the point that the dissonance in question arises from wanting to keep the planet healthy while continuing to indulge in North American consumerism.

chris said...

The first quote is off, Mound. It actually reads:

"...the mental friction of not wanting to ruin the planet, but also not wanting to stop acting like a typical Western consumer."

Gotta go, the local Sobey's has fresh organic mangoes.

In Nova Scotia. In January.

DazD said...

Got it... the word "stop" is missing in the quote... carry on, love your insights and informative analysis...

The Mound of Sound said...

My sloppiness. Apologies.