The Cognitive Dissonance Mind That Dr. Jekyll Has
Decision making is a major part of life in which many have to do. The decisions that one makes will influence their life negatively or positively. Being aware about how conflicting beliefs and emotions impact the decision making process is a wonderful way to improve your ability to generate faster and more accurate choices that could have kept from doing terrible things. In the book, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, the main character, Dr. Jekyll is going through a rough time, where he is experiencing different emotions and personalities within himself. He transforms himself into a new person names Mr. Hyde, an ugly, mysterious, and horrible man. Hyde ends up taking over Jekyll and makes him commit terrible crimes and makes terrible decisions that affect him and his life. At the end of the novel, his evil and negative side takes over his whole body and he kills himself. Simply Psychology, has an article called “Cognitive dissonance” by Saul Mcleod, who explains the theory and its effects. It explains the attitude and behavior of somebody experiencing the conflict. Simply Psychology also explains how dissonance can be reduced, the different methods to use, and the results that can happen once being reduced. The article “The Cognitive Dissonance between the Rule of Law and Rural Realities: Reading Gillian Hadfield’s ‘Rules for a Flat World’ in the Context of Rural Identity and Politics” by Sebastian Cancino-Montecinos, demonstrates an experiment showing the effects of cognitive dissonance. There was a demonstration on the attitude and the behavior of the participants. This article gave a clear idea of what cognitive dissonance is and the effects of what it can do to the mind and body. “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Stevenson, “Cognitive Dissonance” by Saul Mcloed, and “Cognitive Dissonance” by Sebastian Cancino-Mntecinos proves that Dr.Jekyll has the psychological force, cognitive dissonance, due to the way he acts and the decisions he makes throughout the novel.
Cognitive dissonance is the state of having inconsistent beliefs or attitudes. According to Simply Psychology, cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. “It produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.” (Simply Psychology). Dr. Jekyll has cognitive dissonance because he was doing an experiment to test his beliefs. He wanted to separate his emotions by becoming two different people. He tried it out for himself because as a scientist, he was determined to prove his theory. And when he transformed into another person, his attitude and behavior started to influence and change his mind. He started making bad decisions and doing bad things, which the decisions ended up arousing dissonance. What Simply Psychology is explaining is that people who are good hearted might still feel discomfort, and to reduce the dissonance, they follow their mind and do things that they didn’t intentionally mean to do. Since Dr. Jekyll set such high goals for himself, the effort needed to achieve the goal may have caused dissonance. Dissonance would be caused if we spent a great effort to achieve something and then evaluated it negatively. (Simply Psychology). This was the case with Dr. Jekyll; he wanted to know about the evil side of a human, and he tried to figure it out. He spent a lot of time as Mr. Hyde, and he was greatly influenced by the evilness coming from Mr. Hyde. As a result, Simply Psychology helps to proves that Dr. Jekyll has cognitive dissonance.
In the article “Cognitive Dissonance Reduction as Emotion Regulation: Attitude Change Is Related to Positive Emotions in the Induced Compliance Paradigm”, by Sebastian Cancino-Montecinos, it explains an experiment based on the relationship between emotions and attitude change. Many of the patients had a hard time with their emotions and their attitudes, like Mr. Hyde. He was not very sensitive and he was rude. He keep hurting others and he didn’t care. “A common thread in past dissonance studies examining emotions is that researchers have not asked individuals to appraise their emotions in relation to their dissonant behavior but rather their emotional state in general. When asking individuals about emotions without relating them to a specific behavior, the researcher might actually collect data on current mood or general emotionality, rather than emotions produced by the dissonant behavior.”(Cancino-Montecinos). Jekyll’s emotions vary throughout the novel, showing off different kinds of emotions. As himself, he is very generous and happy. Though as Mr. Hyde, he is mean and cruel. He is always angry or upset.
The novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, shows that the main character, Dr. Jekyll, has cognitive dissonance. Throughout the novel, he would do some awful things and he would make some terrible decisions, such as killing an innocent girl. It was not until it was too late that the reader knows what was going on in his head. Dr. Jekyll was going through alot and he made it a lot harder for himself by trying so hard to achieve his goals. In the last chapter of the novel, Dr. Jekyll’s letter says, “There comes an end to all things; the most capacious measure is filled at last; and this brief condescension to my evil finally destroyed the balance of my soul and yet I was not alarmed; the fall seemed natural, like a return to the old days before I had made my discovery… I began to be aware of a change in the temper of my thoughts, a greater boldness, a contempt of danger, a solution of the bonds of obligation.”(Stevenson 95-96). When he says, “evil finally destroyed the balance of my soul” he meant that the evilness is taking over his mind and body, making him make unpleasant choices. “I made my discovery” he is describing his experiment and it demonstrates how he was obsessed with his project. He began very negative and angry. Cognitive dissonance has the same effect and consequences.
Dr. Jekyll has the psychological force, cognitive dissonance, due to the way he acts and the decisions he makes throughout the novel. In all three sources, they explain the situation with someone who has cognitive dissonance. Dr. Jekyll was a scientist who wanted to achieve a goal, but ended up ruining his life by making terrible decisions that affected his mind and transformed him into a different person. Cognitive dissonance theory is a very important theory. Today, many people have different psychological forces. Cognitive dissonance is very common because it involves behavior and attitude. There are different kinds of therapists and different ways to help people with cognitive dissonance. Dr. Jekyll is an example to show to others that there are people who do bad things because they are influenced by their beliefs.