Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Cognitive Dissonance

Following up on yesterday's post on opportunity cost, I wanted to talk a bit about the concept of cognitive dissonance, one form of which is "buyer's remorse". Cognitive dissonance is the attempt by a person to reconcile two opposing viewpoints or beliefs in such a way that the person can accept them. Politicians are a great example of something that often causes cognitive dissonance as a politician will often support many positions that a constituent also supports, such as economic development and infrastructure rebuilding for the area represented, expanded health care, support for veterans etc. but holds one or more positions that differ significantly from the constituent's stance such as gun control or abortion. The constituent then has to reconcile in their mind the differing positions and come to a rationalization either causing them to drop support or maintain it.

In the case of buyer's remorse, a purchaser may make a decision and then regret it afterwards. In order to minimize this, the buyer will often seek out reinforcement from others that they made the right decision, If they purchase cards for a Magic deck, they will ask other players to look at the deck and (hopefully) say how the new cards improved the deck. A miniature painter will show off their work, hoping for admiring comments to reinforce their belief that they did a good job. Boardgamers will seek out other players for a new game, looking for reinforcement that other players enjoy the game as much as the purchaser does.

Customers often like to shop with someone else, getting their feedback before making a purchase. Boardgamers also often check sites such as Board Game Geek for confirmation that other people think a game is good before purchasing it for themselves. No body wants to feel they made a bad decision.

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