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Cognitive Dissonance: Living in a World of Contradictions with Sarah Stein Lubrano

Tuesday July 23rd
Doors & drinks 6.30pm; Talk starts 7pm

Why do people believe false or harmful things about the political and social world, even when faced with a wealth of evidence to the contrary? Why is this kind of thinking especially prevalent in the world of politics? And what does it do to all of us, psychically, when we are structurally set up to live in a world of contradictions?

Cognitive dissonance refers to the discomfort we feel when we notice a contradiction between two or more of our beliefs or actions, even unconsciously. If you fly on planes or eat animals even when aware of the negative consequences, you have experienced dissonance firsthand. In this interactive talk and salon, researcher Dr. Sarah Stein Lubrano (University of Oxford, the Sense and Solidarity Initiative, Future Narratives Lab) will present her research on dissonance and political thought and outline how this line of research helps us understand some of the recent "bonkers"-ness of our current political moment.

She'll share about the history of dissonance theory as it was "discovered" in an apocalyptic alien cult, the reasons dissonance is more common in political areas, and techniques that can sometimes help people navigate dissonance with greater cognitive flexibility. Together, we'll also think about the ways that ideological beliefs and behaviours "make use" of dissonance and what this means both for trying to persuade those caught in harmful ideologies and in crafting our own political movements and messages.

Finally, there will be time not only to ask questions but to discuss, with others, the way dissonance might be at work in our own lives and movements. Come as you are, with all your contradictions and complexities!

The evening will include a break for a one-pot vegan supper.

Kairos, 84 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 4TG

Doors open at 6.30pm for drinks. Talk starts at 7pm.

£8 Kairos Club Member, £15 Non-member, £10 Struggling financially, £20 Supporter. Food complimentary.