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Cognitive Dissonance and Post-Purchase Consumer Behavior

Cognitive Dissonance and Post-Purchase Consumer Behavior

What is Cognitive Dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance is a situation that involves conflicting attitudes, behaviors and/or beliefs.


What is Pre-Purchase and Post-Purchase Dissonance?

This is the mental conflict that occurs within the consumer before and after a purchase.


Example: What is a recent purchase I made in which I experienced post-purchase dissonance?

I purchased a Bluetooth headphone online, which may have been a knock-off of the original brand, hence the mixed feelings. It was affordable, and it possessed the features I wanted, but I still wasn’t sure if it was a knock-off. The seller was overseas, and had over 1000 reviews, an average of 4.6 out of 5.


How did my experience compare to cognitive dissonance?

I definitely had doubts before the purchase and after the purchase. I was concerned about the quality of the headphone. But based on the description, pricing and seller reviews, it was difficult to resist at the time because I was about to embark on a road trip and I needed a Bluetooth headphone. I received the headphone about a week later and I considered returning it even before I opened the package. But I thought about the cost of shipping it overseas, so I dismissed that idea.


What was my coping strategy?

My coping strategy was to ‘minimize the importance of the decision’. Learn more.

It was a little over $20. If it didn’t work properly, I’ll put it aside and may be aim for the relatively expensive original which will be accompanied by a year’s warranty. Plus, my $20 would not make or break this gentleman’s business. Like I mentioned earlier, he has over 1000 reviews. I thought to myself, ‘Izey, you’re blowing things out of proportion. It is not that serious’.




    Is it possible to experience “affective dissonance”?

    Cognitive refers to our thoughts, beliefs, and ideas; while affective refers to our feeling and emotions. Learn more.

    Post-purchase affective dissonance occurs when the consumer experiences conflicting emotions about the purchase. Mixed emotions play a role in consumer pre-purchase and post-purchase behavior. Learn more.

    Yes, it is possible to experience affective dissonance towards a purchasing decision.


    What is an example of affective dissonance?

    An example of affective dissonance is if the head of a household, who’s a sports car enthusiast purchases of a 4 door sedan. It is efficient and comfortable. He/she is at peace when members of the family are being transported in the vehicle. However, it’s not as attractive as a Jaguar or Mustang, and lacks the feeling of invincibility associated with owning a sports car.




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