Commentary Type

Open Commentary


Thomas R. Zentall, Cognitive dissonance or contrast?


We review the evidence for dissonance reduction in nonhuman animals and examine the alternative explanations for these effects. If nonhuman animals engage in dissonance reduction, this supports the original theory as proposed by Festinger (1957) over the revisions to the theory that focused on the self-concept. Evidence of animal sentience, including dissonance reduction, may be a source of cognitive dissonance.

Author Biography

Cindy Harmon-Jones, postdoctoral fellow, University of New South Wales, does research on motivation, approach-motivated and negative emotions such as anger, cognitive dissonance affect, positive emotions such as determination, and positive effects of pain. She developed the action-based model of dissonance with Eddie Harmon-Jones.


Nick Haslam, Professor and Head of the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne, does research on personality, social perception and psychiatric classification.


Brock Bastian, ARC Research Fellow, University of New South Wales, does research on pain, happiness, and morality.