Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

In cognitive consistency theories, consistency is often referred to as the desire to maintain congruence among one’s cognitions, namely beliefs, attitudes and values. (1;2) In other words, people must be consistent in their cognitive systems and tend towards homeostasis, i.e. balance or equilibirum. If there is no balance, we experience a tension, which may result in behaviour change.(3;4)

(1) VandenBos GR. Dictionary of Psychology. Washington: American Psychological Association; 2007.

(2) Bizer GY, Barden JC, Petty RE. Attitudes. In: Nadel L, editor. Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science.London: Palgrave Macmillan; 2005.

(3) Heider F. Attitudes and cognitive organization. J Psychology 1946;21:107-12.

(4) Festinger L. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford: Stanford University Press; 1957.