A Review of Cognitive Dissonance Theory and Its Relevance to Current Social Issues

Azizul Halim Yahya, Vidi Sukmayadi


More than 60 years ago, Cognitive Dissonance Theory was introduced by Leon Festinger (1957), and arguably, this classic theory is still relevant to this day. Festinger described that cognitive dissonance occurs whenever people are confronted with facts that contradict their beliefs, values, and ideas; they will thrive on finding a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort. The theory applies to all social situations involving the formation and changes of human attitude, and it is particularly pertinent to the process of decision-making and problem-solving. The relevance of the theory is still reflected today in the era of the Internet-of-Things (IoT). The information overload and exposure of conflicting opinions on the Internet lead people to a state of mental fatigue where they become confused to seek the right information and may result in social and psychological conflicts.  Hence, this review paper attempts to provide an overview of the classic theory by exploring the core assumptions of the theory, causes of dissonance, and the theoretical implications on current social issues. It is expected that the results of the review could provide a sound basis for further practical study within the field of social studies.


Cognitive Dissonance, Communications, Humanities, Social Issues

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29313/mimbar.v36i2.6652


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