cognitive dissonance

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Related to Cognative dissonance: cognitive behavioral therapy

cognitive dissonance

[¦käg·nəd·iv ′dīs·ən·əns]
(psychology)
Psychological conflict that results from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously.

cognitive dissonance

the experience of competing, opposing or contradictory thoughts, attitudes or actions leading to a feeling of tension and the need to achieve consonance. The term was introduced by Festinger (1957). In his definition dissonant cognitions exist when Belief A implies the negation of Belief B. For example, ‘Smoking causes lung cancer’ is dissonant with ‘I smoke’. The dissonance can be reduced in a variety of ways, either by adjusting Belief A or Belief B. Belief A could be adjusted by disregarding medical reports that confirm the belief and by paying particular attention to sceptical reports. Belief B can be adjusted by smoking less, or smoking tobacco of a low carcinogenic type.