Skip to Content

cognitive dissonance theory

 

Definition: 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.

Synonym(s): cognitive dissonance

See Also: balance theory, consistency principle

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.

Hide