cognitive dissonance theory

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cog·ni·tive dis·so·nance the·o·ry

a theory of attitude formation and behavior describing a motivational state that exists when a person's cognitive elements (attitudes, perceived behaviors, etc.) are inconsistent with each other (dissonance), such as the espousal of the Ten Commandments concurrent with the belief that it is all right to cheat on one's taxes, and indicating that people try to achieve consistency (consonance) by changing attitudes, rationalizing, selective perception, and other means.
See also: balance theory, consistency principle.
References in periodicals archive ?
According to Leon Festinger's A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, the classic cognitive dissonance theory explanation for this is that ".
The application of cognitive dissonance theory suggests that participants who receive a monetary incentive in combination with a survey may experience dissonance if they do not complete the survey or at least give it serious consideration (Furse & Stewart).
Applying cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) to the counseling relationship, Strong (1968) hypothesized that a counselor's influence on a client is the product of cognitive dissonance created by the counselor's message.
Cognitive dissonance theory (1) postulates that when individuals receive information contrary to their beliefs they may try to relieve the dissonance by decreasing their number of inconsistent behaviors (balance theory) or increasing their number of consistent behaviors (consistency theory).

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