Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.

Cognitive dissonance theory is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.

Dissonance normally occurs when a person perceives a logical inconsistency among his or her cognitions. This happens when one idea implies the opposite of another.



The Funny Feeling Inside Your Head …

Wikipedia: Cognitive dissonance is a psychological state that describes the uncomfortable feeling between what one holds to be true and what one knows to be true. Cognitive dissonance theory is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.

Similar to ambivalence, the term cognitive dissonance describes conflicting thoughts or beliefs (cognitions) that occur:

– at the same time, or
– when engaged in behaviors that conflict with one’s beliefs.

In academic literature, the term refers to attempts to reduce the discomfort of conflicting thoughts, by performing actions that are opposite to one’s beliefs.

Smokers tend to experience cognitive dissonance because it is widely accepted that cigarettes cause lung cancer, yet virtually everyone wants to live a long and healthy life. In terms of the theory, the desire to live a long life is dissonant with the activity of doing something that will most likely shorten one’s life.

The tension produced by these contradictory ideas can be reduced by quitting smoking, denying the evidence of lung cancer, or justifying one’s smoking. For example, a smoker could rationalize his or her behavior by concluding that everyone dies and so cigarettes do not actually change anything. Or a person could believe that smoking keeps one from gaining weight, which would also be unhealthy.

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8 thoughts on “Cognitive dissonance

  1. Wishful thinking
    One would like to believe that something positive will happen.
    But at the same time, one faces the reality that the outcome will not be as hoped for.

  2. This is a really interesting theory, in that, this is almost a daily occurrence. Any argument that is held and not resolved, a huge dose of dissonance must be experienced.
    That is when we need the cvs2bvs switch, to escape our current view.

  3. I think all of us live under the influence of ‘cognitive dissonance’. Our minds keep swaying between two major needs. One is to satisfy and to follow only and only ones own mind. The other is to accept all the influences that are on us as a social animal, right from the moment we are born. It takes a long time to understand our own convictions and to live by them. Considering the example of smoking, if no one told us that smoking is dangerous to health, we would never have a conflict in our minds. One would keep smoking and die eventually, naturally or otherwise who knows ??

  4. I played alot of sport,brain is alot in dissonance during competition,
    i thought it was antissipation,
    what will competition do an how would i respond ect,
    the answer i gave myself would be the outcome off this particular sport,win or loose
    it was always difficult to accept learning from a lose as i always felt like a winner learning about anything

  5. I often will observe cognitive dissonance in people with big egos. They will defend by denying or outright lying to justify their positions. I am amused by those who make public predictions such as economic forecasts, pending catastrophes. When the predictions turn out to be false, they will not say they they are wrong but happily provide reasons to explain what happened.

  6. Cognitive Dissonance is a cause for people continuing to accept oppressions, poverty, misery, and VOTE for their enslavers (whose actions cause these conditions), while saying they desire to BE free, prosperous and happy…

    Conflicts between beliefs and sound reason also explains why people keep doing irrational actions while expecting sane rational results… They don’t realize the disconnect from reality… WHEN disconnects/conflicts are consciously realized, THEN the brain software can begin to accurately interpret what is encountered, and wisely THINK with fully-integrated honesty, and begin guiding ever-more wise integrated actions that can (are able to) then create ever-better results.

  7. Cognitive dissonance can also be instrumental in dialectic thinking, i.e. in the battle between the conflicting ideas to result in a “better”, or at least more stable, idea.

  8. Like everything else – cognitive training can overcome this feeling – and remove the stresses involved

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