Cultural DissonanceAuthor(s): James F Welles*
Cognitive dissonance (cogdis) is defined as an uncomfortable condition resulting when an individual holds contradictory beliefs. Obviously, stupidity helps in the process, in that the dumber a person is, the easier it is for her to hold contradictory beliefs. For us, we expand cogdis to cover the condition of a deeply held belief at odds with relevant behavior as in Crusaders who killed for Christ or a corrupt cop. In addition, we extend the principle beyond the individual to society in general, in that we find a culture may profess a belief which is contradicted by the conduct of its members (culdis), as when the institution of science is set up to protect errant members rather than correct their errors .