Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Cognitive Dissonance in the Learning Processes

  • Amy AdcockEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_5



In order to understand the relationship between cognitive dissonance and the process of learning, one must first examine how cognitive dissonance is defined from two perspectives. From the psychological perspective, cognitive dissonance is described as an uncomfortable internal state occurring when new information conflicts with commonly held beliefs (Festinger 1957). As an example, imagine being presented with evidence that the Earth revolves around the sun when your understanding is that the sun revolves around the Earth. From the educational psychology perspective, Piaget (1929) saw cognitive dissonance as a means to facilitate the cognitive processes of accommodation and assimilation, which are central to knowledge development. Accommodation and assimilation occur when learners are presented with new knowledge and must expend mental effort to integrate this information into their existing schema.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of STEM Education and Professional StudiesOld Dominion University Darden College of EducationNorfolkUSA