Cognitive Dissonance


Cognitive dissonance is a term coined by Leon Festinger to describe the feeling of discomfort or imbalance that is presumed to be evident when various cognitions about a thing are not in agreement with each other—i.e., a psychologically uncomfortable state produced by an inconsistency between beliefs and behaviors, producing a motivation to reduce the dissonance.

For example, knowledge that smoking leads to serious physical ailments is dissonant with the belief that smoking is pleasurable and the psycho-physiological need to smoke.

Cognitive dissonance is similar to Heider’s work on Balance Theory and Osgood and Tannenbaum’s Congruity Theory. [1]

See Also

Cognitive processes
Cognitive response


  1. ^ American Marketing Association, AMA Dictionary.

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