How to Detect Cognitive Dissonance

Quote of the Day

How to know you triggered your critic into cognitive dissonance:

  1. Changes topic
  2. Goes ad hominem
  3. Mind-reading
  4. Word salad
  5. Uses analogy in place of reason
  6. Insists it is “complicated” and can’t be summarized
  7. The “So….” tell (indicates a straw man coming)

As soon as you detect one of the seven tells for cognitive dissonance, excuse yourself from the conversation. You can’t deprogram someone via reason.

Scott Adams @ScottAdamsSays
Tweeted (and here) on February 7, 2023

Does this sound familiar?


7 thoughts on “How to Detect Cognitive Dissonance

  1. You can’t deprogram him. But you can humiliate him in front of others, thus winning them over to your side.

    • True. Someone pointed out a long time ago, we don’t argue on the Internet to convert the true believers; nothing short of a miracle or personal tragedy will convert them.

      We argue so that the fence-sitters listening (or reading) in will be exposed to both sides, and maybe we can win some of them over.

      And that’s why most anti-gun and anti-rights blogs have comments disabled or heavily moderated. They don’t want their readers to hear from us.

    • Everyone with a strong opinion on the vax feels the other side uses all seven when questioned on their position, whether they are or not.

      Come to think of it, that’s true of people with strong opposing opinions on anything.

  2. Four of those are sound. A fifth is useful.

    Complexity is what it is. “Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

    Analogy can be a sound and powerful argument, but only when the listener agrees it is analogous. When he does not, a good faith listener will speak why he thinks the analogy is flawed, permitting the arguer to adjust it, or find a more persuasive one.

  3. 8) Tells a lie so ignorant you it leaves you in dumbfounded silence. Wondering if Twains dictum of being dragged to their level and beat with experience makes it better to just walk away with one’s dignity intact.
    (Since the only other coarse correction involves a violent felony charge.)

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