cognitive dissonance

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discord or disagreement.
cognitive dissonance anxiety or similar unpleasant feelings resulting from a lack of agreement between a person's established ideas, beliefs, and attitudes and some more recently acquired information or experience.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

cognitive dissonance

n. Psychology
The psychological tension that occurs when one holds mutually exclusive beliefs or attitudes and that often motivates people to modify their thoughts or behaviors in order to reduce the tension.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

cog·ni·tive dis·so·nance

(kog'ni-tiv dis'ŏ-năns)
A motivational state that exists when a person's attitudes, perceptions, and related cognitive state are inconsistent with each other, e.g., hating African Americans as a group but admiring Martin Luther King, Jr.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012

cognitive dissonance

A psychological term meaning conflict resulting from inconsistency between beliefs and actions, as of a person professing an ethical code but cheating at the Customs.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Next few paragraphs describe the specific variables used in the study that can allow researchers to use cognitive dissonance theory to explain the intentions of high water users to engage in water conservation behaviors.
So, in this study we took cognitive dissonance theory and students' evaluation of teaching and courses in areas of high and low achievement.
We present and discuss the findings in light of the relevant literature and cognitive dissonance theory. We conclude the study with several recommendations for teacher practice and future research.
Cognitive dissonance theory is basically based on the assumption that people try to be consistent.
Although the cognitive dissonance theory is important in psychology, it is not discovered significantly with respect to its relation with personality traits.
The relevance of cognitive dissonance theory to critical pedagogy is well established.
According to cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957), one should work to reduce the dissonance and if it is too late to avoid the behavior, one would modify one's beliefs to account for or justify one's behavior.
In this package comprised of a facilitator's guide and 10 staple-bound participant workbooks, Stice (Oregon Research Institute) and Presnell (psychology, Southern Methodist University) outline a two-part group intervention program, based on cognitive dissonance theory, for adolescent and college-aged women at risk for developing eating disorders.
In tracing the development of cognitive dissonance theory, he addresses the motivational property of dissonance, shifting models and understandings of the role of the self in dissonance theory, and issues of culture and race.
The website provides the following definition: "According to cognitive dissonance theory, there is a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions).