Cognitive Dissonance

Quick Definition: The human brain’s ability to reduce contradictions in their thought patterns by way of altering existing reasons and rationale as to why they desire certain things or believe a certain idea.

Full Definition:

Under pressure, or when introduced to the new world of seduction, the newbie can be in a distressed or stressful state. As such, they may “find themselves” doing things that don’t fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold. For example, a PUA may know that if rejected by a girl, there is no major consequence. However, his brain still prevents him from making the approach, fearing rejection. The PUA then invents certain rationale for why he can’t approach to hide his fear:

  1. He’s too good for this
  2. The girl isn’t hot enough,
  3. He’s too busy building his business empire and this can be taken care of later
  4. He can learn this anytime he wants, right now he has more important things to do

All of these reasons exist for a reason – to protect his ego and his sense of reality. Another example of cognitive dissonance is the conflict between wanting to smoke and knowing that smoking is unhealthy; a person may try to change their feelings about the odds that they will actually suffer the consequences, or they might decide that the health risks are outweighed by the pleasure they receive from smoking. This would include ignoring health issues such as lung cancer, emphysema, and an increase of heart disease. The need to avoid cognitive dissonance may bias one towards a certain decision even though other factors favor an alternative.

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The phrase was coined by Leon Festinger in his 1956 book When Prophecy Fails, which chronicled the followers of a UFO cult as reality clashed with their fervent belief in an impending apocalypse. 

Cognitive dissonance theory warns that people have a bias to seek consonance among their cognitions. According to Festinger, we engage in a process he termed “dissonance reduction”, which he said could be achieved in one of three ways:

  1. Lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors (Being alone isn’t that bad I’m only in my early 30s!)
  2. Adding consonant elements (I have more important business matters to attend to at the moment)
  3. Changing one of the dissonant factors (Approaching girls isn’t that important at all compared to other things in life that are way more important!)

This bias gives the theory its explanatory power, shedding light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior. The ability of people to cling onto their beliefs, in the fact of facts and salvation, has lead to the cognitive dissonance theory in psychology.

The Fox and the Grapes by Aesop. When the fox fails to reach the grapes, he decides he does not want them after all. Rationalization (making excuses) is often involved in reducing anxiety about conflicting cognitions.


n/a – concept

Related Terms: NLP, Real Behavior, Patterns, Male Ego, Congruence, Identity, Frame, Rationalization, Fractionating, Abundance Mentality, Reverse Rationalization

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