Cognitive Dissonance Theory

Cognitive Dissonance Theory, developed by Leon Festinger, is concerned with the relationships among cognitions.In this context, cognition can be perceived as a piece of knowledge that may inscribe an element of an attitude, an emotion, a behavior, a value, and so on.For example, the knowledge that you like the color blue is cognition.People hold a multitude of cognitions simultaneously, and these cognitions form irrelevant, consonant or dissonant relationships with one another.
Cognitive Irrelevance probably describes the bulk of the relationships among a person’s cognitions.Irrelevance simply means that the two cognitions have nothing to do with each other.Two cognitions are consonant if one cognition fits with or is consistent with the other.People like consonance among their cognitions.We do not know whether this aspect is innate or is learned, but people do prefer cognitions that fit together to those that do not.It is this simple observation that gives the theory of cognitive dissonance its interesting form.And, two cognitions are said to be dissonant or incompatible if one cognition follows from the opposite of another.
Dissonance occurs when two cognitions are in a dissonant relationship. Dissonance is not something that people want in their lives.People try to avoid dissonance if they do come across it.For example, Smoking cigarettes may taste good and look professional, but in fact it is known to cause smoking ailments like lung cancer, emphysema and bronchitis.With this in mind, the greater the importance of health to the smoker, the greater amount of dissonance is produced when he she smokes.Tounderstand the alternatives open to an individual in a state of dissonance, we mustfirst understand the factors that affect the magnitude of dissonance arousal.First, in its simplest form, dissonance increases as the degree of discrepancy among cognitions increases.Second, dissonance…

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