If you've ever told a lie and felt uncomfortable because you see yourself as scrupulously honest, then you've experienced cognitive dissonance. It occurs when your ideas, beliefs, or behaviors contradict each other: if, for example, you see yourself as smart but can't believe you made such dumb stock investments. Exactly how we choose to resolve the dissonance (and its accompanying discomfort) is a good reflection of our mental health. In fact, cognitive dissonance can be a great opportunity for growth.

Recent posts on Cognitive Dissonance

Roy Moore's Systemic Danger to Our Democracy

By Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D. on November 16, 2017 in Intentional Insights
Concerned about Roy Moore? This post shows how his accusations are a systemic danger to our democracy.

Stars Who Sexually Harass and Fans Who Love and Hate Them

How do we deal with it when someone we love does something we hate?

The Truth About Fake Health News

How to tell real from fake health news.

6 Things an Addict Will Never Tell You

By Amy Dresner on October 25, 2017 in Coming Clean
Want to know what active addicts aren't telling you? Here are 6 things they're probably lying about.

#WeBelieveYou

By Sara Gluck, PhD, LCSW on October 23, 2017 in Do Your Own Think
We may struggle to witness the sheer number of people who have posted #MeToo this week. Our responses to those disclosures do matter and can make an impact on the healing process.

The Existential Dread of Climate Change

Denying climate change is no solution. But is being fully aware of its consequences making us depressed?
Quick and Dirty Tips

Why Do We Self-Sabotage?

Do you find yourself repeatedly asking "Why do I do this to myself?" You may be a victim of your own bad habits.
Angus Third Pounder/Adam Kuban/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Why Are Most of Us So Good at Deceiving Ourselves?

By Barb Cohen on October 08, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Columbus, cognitive dissonance and autism shed light on our coping strategies.

4 Steps for Effective Social Media Arguments

By Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D. on October 02, 2017 in Curious?
Public shaming. Flame wars. Cultural wars. Here is a post that hopes to improve people's thoughts on how to disagree and argue well.

Cognitive Dissonance

What happens when you receive information or behave in a way that is totally contradictory to your beliefs? You experience cognitive dissonance.

45’s NFL Comments: A New Low for the American Presidency

By Kyle D Killian Ph.D., LMFT on September 26, 2017 in Intersections
Is the President's twitter habit wearing you out? Why his latest tirade, which he says isn't about race, really is.

Hope Versus Depression

By Mario D Garrett Ph.D. on September 24, 2017 in iAge
Could depression benefit from viewing hope as an illusion, and that depression reflects the reality of life? Could depression be a sense of realism closer to the truth?

Our Worst Angels: Inconvenient Psychological Truths, Part 2

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on August 30, 2017 in Insight Therapy
We fancy ourselves rational and independent, eager to learn and adapt. But are we?

Excuse Me! How Rationalizing Weakens Relationships

Regardless of how good an excuse seems, it will usually aggravate problems rather than resolve them.

Five Steps in Forming Irrational Beliefs

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on August 15, 2017 in Science of Choice
Most of our core beliefs about the world are not based on rational and conscious choices.

Four Reasons Women Cheat on Their Partners

Faithfulness to one’s partner is the bedrock of most committed relationships. A recent study shows how women justify the cognitive dissonance caused by having an affair.

Failure to Listen

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 04, 2017 in How To Do Life
A short-short story about suppression and commitment bias.

A White Man and a Black Woman Talk About Race

Do you find yourself avoiding conversations about race for fear of saying the wrong thing? Follow one man's example of how to do the race conversation right.

Values Can Be a Conduit to Recovery

By Dan Mager MSW on July 27, 2017 in Some Assembly Required
Contentment, like recovery, is an inside job. It comes from making choices that are healthy and helpful, and in alignment with our values.

Why Your Relationship Isn't As "Complicated" As You Think

By Jen Kim on July 17, 2017 in Valley Girl With a Brain
How #FakeNews infiltrates our romantic relationships

The Bronx Hospital Shooter: A Chronic Catathymic Crisis?

Who shoots up a workplace two years after being fired? Someone who is obsessed with that incident, who has ruminated about it, and fantasized about revenge.

Black Hearts and Punishing Prostitutes

What do playing cards with red spades and black hearts have to do with your desire to punish people or to defend your political views?

Recognizing and Accepting Psychological Distress

By Elyssa Barbash Ph.D. on June 27, 2017 in Trauma and Hope
It is very common for high-functioning individuals to brush-off symptoms of psychological distress, but addressing these difficulties can yield many positive benefits.

What Drives Suicidal Mass Murderers?

Three recent mass killings by suicidal gunmen reveal the deadly effects of individuals caught up in a catathymic crisis.

The "Battered Voter" Syndrome

By Karl Albrecht Ph.D. on June 04, 2017 in BrainSnacks
The "battered spouse" syndrome has a counterpart in a "battered voter" syndrome, if people hold a dependent attachment to an "ideological package" inimical to their own interests.

Let Them Eat Mushrooms

The President’s trashing of the Paris Accord on climate change as a “job killer” was fittingly simultaneous with the CDC report of a outbreak of mushroom poisoning.
Carl Pickhardt Ph.D.

How to Tell When Your Child Has Started Adolescence

Accustomed to parenting a child, it can be hard for parents admit when childhood is over and parenting an adolescent has begun.

Conspiracy Pathology

Conspiracy theories shade into mental illness, as in the dream that destroyed David Crowley and family. The ambiguity that gives conspiracy thinking power also invites delusion.

How to Think Our Way Out of a Nightmare Future

By Liz Alexander, Ph.D.  on May 02, 2017 in Preparing for the Unpredictable
Think The Handmaid's Tale is a little too close to home? Maybe it's time we all took stock of these bad habits.

The High Cost of Receptivity

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 11, 2017 in Ambigamy
Don't pretend that you're exceptionally ready to change your mind.