Cognitive Dissonance: Our Battle With Conflicting Beliefs

Cognitive dissonance is based on the idea that when two ideas are psychologically not consistent with each other, we change them and make them consistent. If the two conflicting ideas are deeply ingrained in our identity, this mental imbalance can become overwhelming and intoxicate our thoughts — and as a result we may believe even the most absurd conspiracy theories. Watch this video about the origins of this idea and its original research from 1954.

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This video was made with the support of our Patrons: Angela, ArkiTechy, Artur, azad bel, Badrah, Cedric.Wang, David Markham, Delandric Webb, Denis Kraus, Digital INnov8ors, Dr. Matthias Müller-Mellin, Duane Bemister, Esther Chiang, Eva Marie Koblin, Floris Devreese, Frari63, Gatsby Dkdc, Ginger, Harmonica Design, ICH KANN DEUTSCH UND ES WAR EINFACH!, Isabelle, Jana Heinze, Jannes Kroon, Jeffrey Cassianna, Joanne Doyle, Johan Klassen, John Burghardt, Jonathan Schwarz, Jorge Luis Mejia Velazquez, Karen Lewis, Kenneth Natvig, Khadijah Sellers, Leonel, Linus Linderoth, Liskaya, Marcel, María, Mathis Nu, Matthias Ruck, Mezes.Macko, Michael Brown, Mindosone, Nicki, Okan Elibol, Paul Hopkins, Peter Bishop, Petra, Raymond Fujioka, Robert Cook, scripz, Sebastian Huaytan Meder, Si, Stefan Gros, Stephen, Stephen Clark, Stuart Bishop, Susan Schuster, Tetiana Gerasymova, The Freudian Centre, Tristan Scifo, Victor Paweletz, Yohanan Schwartzman, Yvonne Clapham and all the others.Thank you! To join them visit

Script: Jonas Koblin
Artist: Pascal Gaggelli
Voice: Matt Abbott
Coloring: Nalin
Editing: Peera Lertsukittipongsa
Head of Partnership Programme: Selina Bador
Fact checking: Ludo Saint Amour di Chanaz
Production: Bianka
Sound Design: Miguel Ojeda

Toys Are Alive – Studio Le Bus
Magical Keys – Studio Le Bus
Terror Avenue – Jack Pierce

DIG DEEPER with these top videos, games and resources:

Read about the meat paradox and how your brain wrestles with the ethics of eating animals in this piece by The Conversation.

Read a research paper on why reasoning is more strongly related to implausible than plausible conspiracy beliefs.

Watch an interview with the author of The Intelligent Trap on why smart people make dumb mistakes. Or read his book.

Read this overview on why people believe in conspiracy theories.


To learn more on suggested classroom activities for this topic, check out our website!

00:00 Introduction
01:08 The full story
01:38 Cognitive dissonance
02:41 The cult observation
03:17 Festinger’s assessment
04:41 What do you think?
05:04 Patron credits
05:13 Ending

#psychology #cognitivedissonance #sproutslearning #explainer