cognitive dissonance theory

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A theory with the basic premise that people like to be consistent in their thoughts, opinions, attitudes, and behaviours. Therefore, if two cognitive elements conflict, dissonance is created and (according to the theory) people are motivated to reduce dissonance. Dissonant cognitions exist when belief A implies negation of belief B. For example, the belief that drugs can cause illness, is dissonant with the belief that drugs are necessary to win at sport. The dissonance can be reduced by adjusting belief A or B in a number of ways. Belief A could be adjusted by ignoring medical reports which support the belief and studying carefully the reports which state that drugs can be used safely; belief B could be adjusted by taking less drugs and converting to safer drugs. See also cognitive dissonance.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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