'Dissonance Theory' – why no-one says they were wrong

Episode 13: 'Dissonance Theory' – why no-one says they were wrong

American social psychologist Dr Carol Tavris explains cognitive dissonance and how it works in the world of politics.

Show notes

Host Rafael Behr talks to Dr Carol Tavris about the mental obstacles that stop us from admitting that we may have made a mistake. Dr Tavris is a pre-eminent social psychologist specialising in the field of cognitive dissonance and co-author of “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)”, a seminal book on the subject that was recently updated to include a chapter on Donald Trump's support base.

Carol has written articles, op-eds, and book reviews on a wide array of topics in psychological science for the TLS, Wall Street Journal, Skeptic magazine, Los Angeles Times, and many other venues.

This episode was recorded just before Christmas 2020 and touches on some of the reasons why few people have changed their minds about their support for (or opposition to) the idea of Brexit, and why the reality in 2021 is unlikely to trigger mass conversions.

Links to interesting stuff mentioned in this podcast






Amazon UK link to Carol's book

Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts (2020 edition - updated and revised)


Amazon US link


Our podcast was recently chosen by Feedspot as one of the best 15 English-speaking political science podcasts in the world.


This podcast is hosted by ZenCast.fm


Rafael Behr

Rafael Behr

Rafael Behr is a political columnist for the Guardian. He is a former Political Editor for the New Statesman, Chief Leader Writer and Online Editor for The Observer, a business news reporter for BBC online and a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times, based in the Baltic region and Russia. Rafael is a regular contributor to Prospect Magazine, a guest on BBC and Sky News and a speaker at UK think tanks. His book, Politics, A Survivor’s Guide, is published by Atlantic. He hosts the Politics on the Couch podcast. Before becoming a journalist, Rafael was a political risk analyst covering countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He studied modern languages Merton College, Oxford and took a Master’s degree in Russian Studies at the School for Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. He lives in Brighton with his family. He plays the guitar and harmonica, sometimes simultaneously, not always melodiously.

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Dr Carol Tavris

Dr Carol Tavris

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