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Cognitive dissonance: What to know

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Cognitive dissonance: What to know

Cognitive dissonance is a theory in social psychology. It refers to the mental conflict that occurs when a person’s behaviors and beliefs do not align.It may also happen when a person holds two beliefs that contradict one another. Cognitive dissonance causes feelings of unease and tension, and people attempt to relieve this discomfort in different…

Cognitive dissonance: What to know
Cognitive dissonance is a principle in social psychology. It refers back to the mental battle that occurs when a person’s behaviors and beliefs discontinuance no longer align.

It goes to also merely furthermore happen when a person holds two beliefs that contradict one one other.

Cognitive dissonance causes emotions of unease and stress, and other folks try to wait on this discomfort in numerous ways. Examples encompass “explaining issues away” or rejecting original recordsdata that conflicts with their existing beliefs.

Read on to study extra about cognitive dissonance and its results.

What’s cognitive dissonance?

a woman looking pensive because of Cognitive dissonance

Many of us abilities emotions of unease and stress with cognitive dissonance.

The psychologist Leon Festinger published his principle of cognitive dissonance in his 1957 book, A Conception of Cognitive Dissonance.

Festinger proposed that of us abilities discomfort after they fetch conflicting beliefs or when their actions contradict their beliefs.

Since then, cognitive dissonance has become one amongst the most influential and researched theories in social psychology.

Participants will try to chop this dissonance to wait on the discomfort. The flexibility to catch to the backside of dissonance is named the “principle of cognitive consistency.”

It’s most necessary to showcase that cognitive dissonance is no longer automatic when a person holds opposing beliefs. They’ll have to possess an awareness of the inconsistency to feel discomfort.

No longer every person experiences cognitive dissonance to the similar diploma. Some other folks possess a elevated tolerance for uncertainty and inconsistency and can merely abilities much less cognitive dissonance than other folks who require consistency.

Diversified factors that possess an note on the diploma of cognitive dissonance that a person experiences encompass:

  • The kind of beliefs: Beliefs which will most likely be extra personal lead to extra most necessary dissonance.
  • The worth of the beliefs: Beliefs that of us fetch in high regard are inclined to position off elevated dissonance.
  • The size of the disparity: A substantial disparity between conflicting and harmonious beliefs will lead to extra dissonance.


Cognitive dissonance has the instantaneous fabricate of inflicting emotions of discomfort and unease.

As other folks in most cases possess an innate desire to deal with away from this discomfort, cognitive dissonance has a gigantic fabricate on a person’s:

  • behaviors
  • thoughts
  • decisions
  • beliefs and attitudes
  • mental health

Participants experiencing cognitive dissonance could maybe well even merely look for that they feel:

  • anxious
  • responsible
  • ashamed

As a result, they could maybe well even merely:

  • try to cowl their actions or beliefs from others
  • rationalize their actions or decisions consistently
  • panicked away from conversations or debates about particular topics
  • steer clear of finding out original recordsdata that goes against their existing beliefs
  • ignore compare, newspaper articles, or doctor’s suggestion that causes dissonance

Avoiding correct recordsdata can enable other folks to proceed inserting forward behaviors with which they discontinuance no longer fully agree.

Of direction, cognitive dissonance could maybe well even merely instructed some other folks to change their habits so that their actions align with their beliefs. On this style, it presents other folks with a possibility to peep their values and actions and fabricate cognitive consistency.

Because cognitive dissonance, many folk confront problematic attitudes and actions.

They could maybe well even merely assemble sure changes in their lives, equivalent to addressing unhealthful eating habits, addiction, or anger concerns.


cigarette in a persons hand and an ash tray with butts in it.

If a person smokes no matter incandescent the disaster, they could maybe well even merely abilities cognitive dissonance.

Cases the effect cognitive dissonance can occur encompass:

  • Smoking no matter taking note of the detrimental health results of tobacco employ.
  • Picking to promote a habits, equivalent to accepted exercise, that a person does no longer themselves practice. The kind of cognitive dissonance is named hypocrisy.
  • Telling a lie no matter the person pondering of themselves as merely.
  • Shopping a brand original automobile that’s no longer gasoline atmosphere pleasant, no matter being environmentally aware.
  • Engaging meat while furthermore pondering of themselves as an animal lover who dislikes the regarded as killing animals. Some researchers call this the meat paradox.

Straightforward pointers on how to catch to the backside of cognitive dissonance

Participants that abilities cognitive dissonance can exhaust steps to chop it. They could maybe well even merely discontinuance this by:

Rejecting or avoiding conflicting recordsdata

On the whole, other folks catch to the backside of cognitive dissonance by devaluing and discarding conflicting recordsdata.

They could maybe well even merely restrict their exposure to original recordsdata that does no longer align with their existing beliefs — a phenomenon known as “confirmation bias.”

One instance of here is devaluing particular news sources by describing them as biased or unsuitable.

Persuading and justifying

Participants could maybe well even merely persuade themselves that no battle exists.

They could maybe well even merely survey out support from others who fragment similar beliefs or try to convince others that the original recordsdata is unsuitable.

Alternatively, a person could maybe well even merely web a ability to define behaviors that battle with their beliefs. As an instance, someone who smokes no matter incandescent that it is sinister for his or her health could maybe well even merely rationalize the habits on the foundation that it helps them socialize with others.

Reconciling the variations

a man hugging a cow.

An particular person could maybe well even merely reconcile differences by giving up eating meat as a result of they esteem animals.

This plot of cutting back dissonance could maybe well even very neatly be basically the most efficient, on the opposite hand it is furthermore basically the most no longer easy to implement.

It entails a person altering their behaviors so that they are according to their other beliefs.

Reconciling the variations between conflicting beliefs, or between actions and beliefs, is a invent of personal enhance.

One instance of reconciling differences is when a person stops eating meat as a result of they esteem animals or dislike the regarded as killing them.


Cognitive dissonance affects every person, and it plays a job in loads of of a person’s each day judgments and decisions.

Though cognitive dissonance could maybe well even merely seem love a adversarial fabricate, it will furthermore wait on other folks change and develop in sure ways.

By awareness of conflicting beliefs and actions, other folks can address their habits and utter their behaviors in response to their values.

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