Throughout the election season and President Trump’s term, there are many people to point out his flaws. One of them being the recurrence of cognitive dissonance. I have never been more fascinated as to how many times someone can have inconsistent beliefs on so many different topics. Therefore, I decided to combine that with my passion for memes. Many people are familiar with the evil Kermit meme, for those who are not, in the Muppets Most Wanted movie, there is a scene where Kermit the frog is seen interacting with his evil lookalike Constantine (who wears a black coat). From that someone created a meme out of it that went viral. The meme that the user created quoted “me: sees a fluffy dog… me to me: steal him.” This meme is quite popular in the world of memes and I thought it fit my topic of cognitive dissonance very well. When I was creating the meme, I was stuck between writing about the Megyn Kelly topic and a nuclear weapon topic. I decided to go with the Megyn Kelly one because it was a little less controversial. If you are interested in seeing the other one, let me know in the comments!
In this meme, specifically, I am referencing when President Trump had an interview with Megyn Kelly in 2011 where she asked him if he thought he was better than her. He replied saying that he did not have a chance, etc. Then, in 2016, Trump ranted about how she is a nasty woman and not very good at what she does.
Cognitive dissonance, according to Merriam-Webster is a psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously. Cognitive dissonance is interesting to me because, is ironically is very relatable at surface level. Especially as displayed in the original meme: sees dog, steal him kind of way. A very popular example of cognitive dissonance is when people smoke regardless of knowing that it is highly linked to lung cancer.
Cognitive dissonance was first studied by Leon Festinger. He came out of an observation study on a cult which believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood, and what happened to the members when it didn’t happen. The cognitive dissonance theory suggests that people have an inner drive to hold their attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid dissonance; which can also be known as the principle of cognitive consistency. It also represents a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions. When dissonance arises, there are three ways it can be reduced: Change one or more of the cognitions to make the relationship between the two elements, one constant; seek new information to outweigh dissonant beliefs; or reduce the importance of the cognitions.
I am not the most creative, artistic, or inventive person, so if you have any tips or pointers on improving meme-making skills let me know!
DISCLAIMER: this is in no way to offend anyone, it was used as an example to display cognitive dissonance, using current events.