Cognitive Dissonance: Foundations & Applications

Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort we feel when we have psychologically inconsistent thoughts (Festinger, 1957), act inconsistently with our goals (Harmon-Jones, 2002) or when thoughts or behaviour are inconsistent with our self-concept (Aronson, 1969). The resulting discomfort motivates efforts to reduce it by changing inconsistent thoughts, attitudes or behaviours and various other means. Unresolved dissonance can lead to persistent inner conflict, stress, and depression.

The programme consists of two branches:

  • Fundamental neuroscience research aimed at identifying how dissonance is processed in the brain.
  • Applications of dissonance theory to healthcare and mental health. This includes research into the role of dissonance in hatred, depression, LGBTQI+ identities, and care erosion in hospitals.

The programme has accumulated over 300,000 euro in funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 programme, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and internal TCD sources.

The conflict within: cognitive dissonance

Dr Jan de Vries from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College talks about his research.

Link to Publications

Cognitive Dissonance - Team