The
Definition Of

Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is the buyer discomfort caused by post purchase conflict.

After the purchase, consumers are satisfied with the benefits of the chosen brand and are glad to avoid the drawbacks of the brands not bought. However, every purchase involves compromise. So consumers feel uneasy about acquiring the drawbacks of the chosen brand and about losing the benefits of the brands not purchased. Thus, consumers feel at least some post purchase dissonance for every purchase.

Cognitive Dissonance means internal state that results when individuals notice inconsistency between two or more of their attitudes or between their attitudes and their behavior.


Cognitive dissonance is a kind of balance theory proposed by the American psychologist Leon Festinger; the theory states that because we have a powerful drive towards consistency (or consonance), if we hold two psychologically inconsistent cognitions (beliefs, attitudes, values or ideas) at the same time, or if our behaviour clashes with those cognitions, we will be in an unpleasant state of tension which we are strongly motivated to reduce. As the theory deals with psychological rather than logical inconsistency, it proposes that we are not so much concerned with actually being consistent as with feeling that we are consistent.

Share it:  Cite Term

More from this Section

  • Content analysis
    Content analysis is the systematic coding and objective recording of data, guided by some rationale.
  • Business portfolio
    Business portfolio is the collection of businesses and products that make up the company.
  • Purchasing officers
    Purchasing officers refer to that personnel who perform a role similar to that of brokers or agents but are part of the buyer’s organization.
  • Sociology
    Sociology is the scientific study of social behavior and human groups.
  • Means-end analysis
    Means-end analysis refers to repeated testing for differences between the desired outcome and what currently.
  • Break-even analysis
    Break-even analysis refers to analysis to determine the unit volume and dollar sales needed to be profitable given a particular price and cost structure.
  • Interposition
    Interposition is a situation where one object is partially obscuring another to provide a background cue to the perception of distance.