Cognitive Dissonance: The Most Prolific Psychological Plague of our Time

The Rabbit Hole

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true. The other is to refuse to accept what is true – Soren Kierkegaard

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In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress (discomfort) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values; when performing an action that contradicts one of those beliefs, ideas, or values; or when confronted with new information that contradicts one of the beliefs, ideas, and values.In other words, the term refers to the perception of incompatibility of two simultaneous cognitions, which can impact on their attitudes.

Leon Festinger‘s 1957 theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how human beings strive for internal consistency. A person who experiences inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and so is motivated to try to reduce the cognitive dissonance occurring, trying to “justify” their behavior by changing or…

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