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Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable state of mind resulting from discrepancies between attitudes and past behavior or between two conflicting attitudes. Typically, people like to think that their attitudes are consistent or congruent with each other and with their behaviors. A person who values honesty should not cheat on an exam. When people behave in ways that are in contradiction with their attitudes or when they face two conflicting attitudes, they experience an unpleasant state of arousal, due at least in part to feelings of guilt and responsibility for contributing to a negative situation. People are motivated to reduce this stress. Dissonance can be reduced in a number of ways: (a) by changing the behavior, (b) by changing the conflicting cognition, (c) by changing the ...

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