Cognitive Dissonance Theory

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Cognitive Dissonance Theory

I know it is bad for me. I have read about, heard of and listened to the side effects of this taboo beverage. Yet, I am always unable to resist the promise of instant gratification that can be mine simply by breaking the seal of its carbonated packaging. My eyes linger on the variety of healthier options that lay behind the sliding glass doors; however, my fingers are already tightly grasped around the silver label of a twenty ounce Diet Coke. Each refreshing sip fills my head with depressing logic that can only be drowned with more fizzy brown bubbles. The chemicals in Diet Coke have been shown to cause cancer in lab rats. The sugar substitutes found in Diet Coke increase sugar cravings negating the “diet” value. Habitual Diet Coke drinkers are significantly heavier than those who indulge in the occasional full calorie version. Diet Coke is detrimental to bone health… The warnings echo loudly in my head almost as loud as my endless self chastising. Why do I force myself to eat fresh fruits and vegetables when what I really want is Chipotle? Why do I walk to class when I’m offered a free ride? Why do I punish myself with healthy activities when I am killing my body with Diet Coke anyway? I curse the investigative reporter who first divulged Diet Coke’s dirty little secret as I hand over $1.35 for my second drink of the day. I would even feel guilty if the woman in front of me had not just bought cigarettes.
Cognitive dissonance is a feeling of discomfort resulting from inconsistent attitudes, thoughts and behaviors (West and Turner 131). The example above, while trivial, illustrates all the assumptions of Cognitive Dissonance Theory. A dissonant relationship exists between my love of Diet Coke and my desire to live a healthy lifestyle. My ultimate goal, to put these elements in equilibrium, cannot be achieved without giving one up.…...

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