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“Cognitions must be relevant before dissonance theory is applicable. For example, “I’m a thoughtful person” and “It’s a nice day today” would probably be considered irrelevant—that is, one cognition does not imply anything about the other. Therefore, dissonance theory would not be applicable. In contrast, “I’m a thoughtful person” is relevant to “I forgot my father’s birthday” because the first relates to the second in a psychological sense; therefore dissonance theory is applicable.”

Social Psychology in the 90s