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Glossary

Balance theory

According to the American psychologist Fritz Heider, people have a tendency towards compatibility in their beliefs because incompatibility causes tension. For example, if you believe someone is gentle and you see him acting violently, your beliefs are in a state of imbalance. You would strive to balance them again by consciously reducing the violence of the act or the person's responsibility for it, or adjusting your previous belief in the person's gentleness.

See COGNITIVE DISSONANCE.

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