• synonyms

cognitive dissonance

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noun Psychology.
  1. anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes, beliefs, or the like, as when one likes a person but disapproves strongly of one of his or her habits.
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Origin of cognitive dissonance

First recorded in 1960–65
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for cognitive dissonance

cognitive dissonance

  1. psychol an uncomfortable mental state resulting from conflicting cognitions; usually resolved by changing some of the cognitions
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cognitive dissonance


1957, developed and apparently coined by U.S. social psychologist Leon Festinger (1919-1989).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper