Dissonance

[dissonance]  /ˈdis-É™-nÉ™n(t)s/. n. Inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one’s actions and one’s beliefs.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/FL7yD-0pqZg]

Have you ever noticed the crazed mindset of the iPhone faithful?

Greg Joswiak with the first guy in line for the iPhone 4
the first guy in line for the iPhone

Most of the super elite, die-hard fans of the iPhone completely refuse to listen to facts and logic when it comes to phone technology. They overlook that the EVO is actually a 4G device, while the iPhone 4 is still only a 3G device. They will not recognize that the EVO has superior tethering capabilities, that it is much easier to load media files to, that it uses a much more flexible operating system, and that the EVO also supports high quality video chat.

Sometimes people become so entranced by something that they will deny obvious facts on certain issues, and they will defend their own misguided decisions seemingly to their own death.

Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously.”

The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.

Wikipedia

 

Now, we cannot be certain, but let’s just assume for a moment that those who remain loyal to the iPhone 4 ARE NOT incompetent. Which would lead us to assume that blatant facts and comparisons are simply ignored when they are presented with information comparing the iPhone to other similar devices.

Why?

Because they have two conflicting beliefs. One must be overpowered.

There is a common belief amongst us all that features such as connectivity, speed, resolution, and battery life have inherent value when it comes to mobile phones.

However, amongst Apple supporters, there is another belief which is manufactured by Apple’s marketing.

The belief that there is value in the chic look, presumed status, and the way Apple’s technology makes one “feel” when others see them swishing and swiping away at their iPhone.

In iPhone evangelists, the manufactured belief overpowers the value-for-money one and the latter is traded off, much to the dismay of others.

 

What Makes People Deny Obvious Facts?

Well, there are many answers to this, and the list could go on forever, but we will quickly touch on a couple of them here. Three of the most common reasons are Greed, Popularity, and Fear.

In the iPhone example, the primary reason is that the iPhone has become a status symbol amongst smart phones. It seems like the cool, hip thing to have. In fact, it’s kinda Yuppy-ish. And it does something pleasant for the soul of the iPhone Elite who insist on purchasing this phone, even if it’s not really the coolest technology in phones anymore.

All the same, Apple has done a wonderful job of making their technology exclusive by setting themselves apart with higher price-point and slightly inferior but more desirable products.

This creates a divide between people. Another group is formed who share the same dissonance but choose instead the better features, less restrictions, and better price.

This second group of people allow Apple lovers to feel good about their purchase. Because the second group continue to want the iPhone even though they may say, “Hey, I can get a better phone for less.”

 

Why Healthy Skepticism is Good

Healthy skepticism is good because it’s always smart to find out all of the facts and make FACT BASED decisions for yourself, rather than to make emotional decisions which you might regret later on.

You should also be careful not to fall into the Robot-Syndrome of following a product or another person simply because they said you should follow them.

There’s an old saying that the only person who can’t change his or her mind is the person who hasn’t got one.

So don’t beat yourself up if you’re thinking of a time or two when you’ve fallen victim to cognitive dissonance. Instead, use it as a learning experience to better prepare yourself for the future.

And if you’re in denial about something that’s simply not working out for you the way you had hoped it would…

Well, don’t be afraid to change your mind. It’s not too late.

Author: Ken & Melisa West

Ken & Melisa have nearly 40 combined years of professional experience in talent management and team leadership at multiple Fortune 500 companies.

12 thoughts on “Dissonance”

  1. Good word and description! :)

    I myself don't even, or ever had and do not want an iPhone. In fact I have never had an ' extraordinary phone' I am still happy with my laptop and Skype :) and wonder sometimes if I should be following that technology more than I do. The truth is, I am amazed and proud of advancing technology, I just wouldn't buy it, I am more interested in warp drive and such things :)
    (Not that I had money to buy that. I must find someone to show me. :) Haha, I occasionally tell my 1 year old son that he has to 'figure out warp drive ok' :)

    Thats not unrealistic is it?!

    Anyway, really well written article!

  2. Good word and description! :)

    I myself don't even, or ever had and do not want an iPhone. In fact I have never had an ' extraordinary phone' I am still happy with my laptop and Skype :) and wonder sometimes if I should be following that technology more than I do. The truth is, I am amazed and proud of advancing technology, I just wouldn't buy it, I am more interested in warp drive and such things :)
    (Not that I had money to buy that. I must find someone to show me. :) Haha, I occasionally tell my 1 year old son that he has to 'figure out warp drive ok' :)

    Thats not unrealistic is it?!

    Anyway, really well written article!

  3. There's a saying that says, “Keeping up with the Joneses”. According to Wikepedia, “Keeping up with the Joneses” is an idiom in many parts of the English-speaking world referring to the comparison to one's neighbor as a benchmark for social caste or the accumulation of material goods. To fail to “keep up with the Joneses” is perceived as demonstrating socio-economic or cultural inferiority.

    Well this is what's happening with people who purchase iphones. They want to keep up with the “cool kids”, therefore they fail to even consider other options.

  4. There's a saying that says, "Keeping up with the Joneses". According to Wikepedia, "Keeping up with the Joneses" is an idiom in many parts of the English-speaking world referring to the comparison to one's neighbor as a benchmark for social caste or the accumulation of material goods. To fail to "keep up with the Joneses" is perceived as demonstrating socio-economic or cultural inferiority.

    Well this is what's happening with people who purchase iphones. They want to keep up with the "cool kids", therefore they fail to even consider other options.

  5. I can totally agree with this article. We live in a world where there are now so many options. It is sad that we will continue to choose inferior products just because of the brand. If Apple sold lint out of their jean's pocket, people would still buy it, simply because it comes from Apple… somehow the Apple fanatic will find a way to say that that lint is good because it has an Apple stamp on it. Gotta give the Apple marketing team credit though… when you can have the whole world in an “Apple trance” … you got SKILLS!

  6. Ken & Melisa love the video at the top, totally hilarious. I work with a guy who woke up early (like 3 in the morning) to camp out side a store on the iPhone 4 launch day. To his disgust there was already a queue of 100+ idiots, i mean people who also had the same idea.
    He turned up to work at 3pm in the afternoon with the phone which does pretty much the same as what most other phones can do. Some people you just have to shake your head at.

    Apple, great marketing, truly top-notch

    1. LOL i did that last week inadvertantly. i was just mad at my iPhone because it was behaving badly so i bitched about it and explicitly warned everyone at the threat of severe beatings that they would be punished for defending it on my wall (like it needs warriors to protect it from mean ole bullies like me) and all the loyalists got started. i blocked them all and felt good about it.

  7. The cartoon is too funny!!
    To want to belong is a basic need for people. To have an iPhone and to be part of that group of phone users gives some people a sense of belonging. Owners of Harley Davidson bikes even tattoo the company’s logo on their body. The emotion that this sense of belonging brings can certainly overrule any logic or reasoning.

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