Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance refers to the tendency to ignore information that contradicts existing views.

The goal is to make certain behaviors appear consistent with one’s image. When new information contradicts our preexisting hypotheses, we have a problem to solve.

Cognitive dissonance refers to a state of tension that occurs when a person has two psychologically inconsistent ideas. We tend to choose the belief or idea that is most ingrained in us, that we already have.

This situation is what forces us to be consistent.

How is cognitive dissonance used in marketing and persuasion?

For example, you consider yourself a knowledgeable automotive enthusiast.

The salesperson says this.
“Most Americans wouldn’t understand why this car is a great buy.”
On the one hand, if you resist the sale of this very expensive car, you look simple;

On the other hand, if you agree, you are moving towards buying a car you cannot afford.

Many consumers will continue the sales pitch to avoid being seen as ignorant people.

Cialdini explains pre-persuasion.

A consultant charges an annual fee of $ 75,000 for his service. However, he is unhappy that a 15% discount is requested at each meeting. Complements the presentation.

Before explaining the fee, he smiles and says.

“As you can tell, I won’t be able to charge you a million dollars for this.” And the deal is completed without any demand for discounts.

This situation provides a way of pre-persuasion. After this preliminary persuasion, every minute that proceeds confirms that this price will be accepted.

And it gets harder and harder to come back.

Cognitive dissonance after purchasing

It is good to persuade to buy. However, cognitive dissonance experienced after purchasing can be expensive.

This could result in an unhappy customer who is unlikely to buy from you again.

The foundation of cognitive dissonance is the instinct to stick to our thoughts from the past consistently. One of the ways to deal with this instinct is commitment. A commitment taken can keep it adhering to.


  • Plan your sales pitch by ensuring your customer goes on a path that he or she cannot return to. Keep it consistent.
  • Get commitment from them before. Buying probabilities will increase to be consistent.
  • Prevent post-purchase cognitive dissonance.