Day 11: Why Dissonance Disturbs the Brain


This barbed wire remains from last year’s protests.

On leaving the park, the xylophones played a steady, monotonous beat of what I would call a discord.  They never resolved it the whole six minutes it took me to walk away from the school.  It’s important to resolve things—even chords.  Otherwise, we may find fragments of the contention creeping into our daily activities, like this barbed wire we see on the way to exercise.

Dissonance disturbs the brain, yet perplexes it!  Our brains experience cognitive dissonance when we are introduced to new beliefs with which we feel uncomfortable. Because we like things categorized appropriately, we tend to revisit the disturbing event until we can make sense of it.

Dissonance can be a combination of two things that don’t usually go together, whether a musical discord, a conflict of ideas verses actions, a disagreement, or an inconsistency.  Some thrive on it, but I prefer peace or avoidance.

What are some things that would cause dissonance in your life?  Look around and see what kind of opposites you see around you that cause your brain to be a bit disturbed.

Now for a fun activity, bring something very unusual into your daily work place and watch how people respond.  As a teacher, I can always get away with this.  How about an oversized, beautifully wrapped present or a huge bundle of ostrich feathers?  Just bring something that makes people ask questions and watch the responses.  Best of all, don’t tell anyone what it’s all about.

These creatures think they belong in our park….Dissonance!

When you finish, share a comment and let’s all have a laugh together!


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