Cognitive Dissonance


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.

• How strongly the dissonant thoughts conflict.

• Our inability to rationalize and explain away the conflict.

Dissonance is often strong when we believe something about ourselves and then do something against that belief. If I believe I am good but do something bad, then the discomfort I feel as a result is cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is a very powerful motivator which will often lead us to change one or other of the conflicting belief or action. The discomfort often feels like a tension between the two opposing thoughts. To release the tension we can take one of three actions:

• Change our behavior.

• Justify our behavior by changing the conflicting cognition.

• Justify our behavior by adding new cognitions.

Dissonance is most powerful when it is about our self-image. Feelings of foolishness, immorality and so on (including internal projections during decision-making) are dissonance in action.

If an action has been completed and cannot be undone, then the after-the-fact dissonance compels us to change our beliefs. If beliefs are moved, then the dissonance appears during decision-making, forcing us to take actions we would not have taken before.

Cognitive dissonance appears in virtually all evaluations and decisions and is the central mechanism by which we experience new differences in the world. When we see other people behave differently to our images of them, when we hold any conflicting thoughts, we experience dissonance.



Examples of CD

* A soldier carrying out orders to bomb civilians, children, elderly people – all in the name of fighting for freedom, for ‘his’ country.

* A police officer again carrying out orders to undertake distasteful, unethical and unlawful activities; all in the name of somehow bringing about social order.

* Social services snatching children from loving parents, again because they have been instructed to do, and they are just doing their job.

* People who all they do is browse endless amounts of Truth information and never spread the word, or put up any amount of resistance and kid themselves they are somehow Truthers and part of the Truth movement.


Orwel’s Doublethink

.. the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. … To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.




Leave a comment


  1. Spicegirl

     /  August 13, 2012

    This is the politician’s message to the public, knowingly bending the figures or the truth. Do they all absolutely know they are the puppets of the spin doctors? Or do they start with a dream that it will all come right in the end. I believe some personality types are more prone to being ‘bent’ and to unquestionably do what they are told. Those are the ones that are nurtured, rewarded and sold to the devil, the system that always has a hook. Not everyone will fall into the trap of CD all the time every time, but I think just about all of us have personal weaknesses that we fight most every day, however small. How perfect in ourselves do we need to be? Yes, I do want to sleep at night and I don’t want any part of lining a rich jewish pocket that controls every bit of my world. It’s too late now to worry about the minor bad habits, just work on the bigger picture I guess for all of us. Thanks Digger.

    • Spicegirl,

      Welcome to DFT.

      Very well put. Agree, time to work on the bigger picture!

      Thank you for contributing.



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