What is Cognitive Dissonance

First explored by Leon Festinger in the 1950’s, cognitive dissonance refers to the mental conflict we experience when existing beliefs, values and attitudes are contradicted by new information.

This conflict is typically experienced as psychological stress so people will do everything in their power to resolve the clashing beliefs in order to reduce their psychological discomfort.

It can be done in 4 ways:

  1. People ignore or deny the conflicting information
  2. People justify the behaviours/cognitions by adding new behaviours/cognitions
  3. People justify the behaviours/cognitions by changing the conflicting cognition
  4. People will change their behaviours/cognitions.

Understanding cognitive biases, such as cognitive dissonance, is crucial to understanding your customers better. To learn more about the brain, please click here for more articles on why we behave as we do or get in touch with us here.