“SMOKING KILLS.” “SMOKING CAUSES CANCER.” Most of us who have seen a pack of cigarettes have seen these words written on it in large, conspicuous letters. What if you are a regular smoker but also believe all the scientific research related to the harmful effects of smoking. Each time you light a cigarette, you might experience an unpleasant feeling, of being torn between your addiction to cigarettes and your belief that you are indeed causing irrevocable damage to your health. you may be experiencing what is known in social psychology as Cognitive Dissonance.
The term Cognitive Dissonance was coined by American Social Psychologist Leon Festinger in 1956. Cognitive Dissonance may be defined as the state of having inconsistent or conflicting thoughts, beliefs, attitudes or behaviours, which, in turn, produce a feeling of discomfort within the individual. According to the definition in his 1957 book, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance,
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