Cognitive Dissonance Theory


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Term: Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Definition (Myers): The theory that we act to reduce the discomfort we feel when two of our thoughts are inconsistent 1
Definition (alternative): a theory of attitude formation and behaviour describing a motivational state that exists when an individuals cognitive elementsattitudes, perceived behaviours, etc.) are inconsistent with each other, such as the espousal of the ten Commandments concurrent with the belief that it is all right to cheat on one's taxes; a test which indicates that persons try to achieve consistency (consonance) and avoid dissonance which, when it arises, may be coped with by changing one's attitudes, rationalizing, selective perception, and other means. 2
Contextual explanation: A theory claiming that when our cognitive elements or thoughts are inconsistent with each other, we are inclined make attempts to decrease the resulting discomfort.
Related terms and concepts:
  • cognitive psychology
  • cognition



Cognitive Dissonance Theory - The Neuron3
Related websites:
  • http://tip.psychology.org/festinge.html
  • http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/cognitive_dissonance.htm
  • http://www.colorado.edu/communication/meta-discourses/Papers/App_Papers/Jean.htm
  • http://www.ithaca.edu/faculty/stephens/cdback.html
  • http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~as491398/cdaes.htm
  • http://www.cw.utwente.nl/theorieenoverzicht/Theory%20clusters/Public%20Relations,%20Advertising,%20Marketing%20and%20Consumer%20Behavior/Cognitive_Dissonance_theory.doc/
Sources:
  1. Myers, D. G. (2004). Psychology. New York, New York: Worth Publishers.
  2. Cognitive dissonance theory - definition from Biology-Online.org. (n.d.). Life Science Reference - Biology Online. Retrieved November 5, 2009, from http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Cognitive_dissonance_theory
  3. McGraw-Hill. (n.d.). Introductory Psychology Image Blank. MgGraw-Hill. Retrieved November 6, 2009, from www.mhhe.com/socscience/intro/ibank/set4.htm




Edited by: Michelle
Date of last edit: 11/6



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