Cognitive dissonance theory - Essay Example

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Cognitive dissonance theory

Cognitive dissonance is a term employed to describe the state of having two or more conflicting cognitions simultaneously, as people experience new information in the context of their pre-existing knowledge (Festinger 10). Individuals experience psychological discomfort when they encounter information that challenges their beliefs or behavior. Discussion Cognitive dissonance theory pursues to explain how individuals minimize psychological discomfort and attain emotional equilibrium in the face of conflicting behaviors or beliefs. Cognitive dissonance theory (1957) holds that there are predictable responses that shape individual’s experience of discomfort or dissonance. Festinger advanced that if the new events or information support the pre-held beliefs, then the individual feels supported as the fresh stimuli is in harmony with the individual’s prior knowledge, referred to as a state of consonance. Individuals may accept the information as accurate but decline to make changes; individuals may also accept the information as accurate and make appropriate changes (Festinger 12). Similarly, individuals may attack the messenger as incredible, or rationalize the information in a manner that relieves the discomfort. ...Show more


Author Tutor Course Date Cognitive Dissonance Theory Introduction Cognitive dissonance theory is a communication theory adopted from social psychology as advanced by Leon Festinger. Cognitive dissonance details psychological conflict from holding two or more incompatible beliefs at the same time…
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