May 2010 Issue

Faulty Dissonance

First of all, "Playing Mental Defense" (March 2010) was an excellent article. I would like to offer clarification on a key technical point, however. Mr. Pestal correctly identifies "cognitive dissonance" as the condition of psychological discomfort experienced when competing cognitions occur. He also correctly described the human tendency to attempt to resolve the cognitive dissonance by utilizing denial, rationalization and other unproductive defense mechanisms as we seek to return to a state of psychological comfort. We in psychology refer to this process as "dissonance reduction" or "dissonance resolution."

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