Explanations > Theories > Cognitive Dissonance Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References Description This is the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time. Dissonance increases with: The importance of the subject to us. Dissonance is often strong when we believe something about ourselves and then do something against that belief. Cognitive dissonance is a very powerful motivator which will often lead us to change one or other of the conflicting belief or action. Change our behavior. Dissonance is most powerful when it is about our self-image. If an action has been completed and cannot be undone, then the after-the-fact dissonance compels us to change our beliefs. Cognitive dissonance appears in virtually all evaluations and decisions and is the central mechanism by which we experience new differences in the world. Note: Self-Perception Theory gives an alternative view. Research Example So what?
Related: the construct
• To think or not to think