Cognitive Conflict Theory in Everyday Use

As a two-day experiment in which I had to develop and apply a strategy for cognitive improvement, I chose the strategy of cognitive conflict. This type of thinking is quite often used in teaching the exact sciences and has attracted my attention due to its declared effectiveness. Cognitive conflict implies a special psychological state when the new knowledge gained is not combined with the picture of the world, already established ideas that exist in a person’s head. Overcoming this conflict requires expanding the boundaries of one’s own ideas and takes greater openness and tolerance towards other people’s views. Because of this declared ability of the cognitive conflict strategy to expand the boundaries of consciousness, I decided to apply this very tactic in my everyday thinking.

Conflict thinking has been practiced regularly in my daily routine for the past two days. This strategy allows one to ask the question “why” in relation to any performed action that becomes routine. Cognitive conflict can be created artificially in the process of internal dialogue. The task of such a rhetorical situation is to rethink one’s attitude to a particular occupation. By trying to apply my established attitude to a different imaginary perspective, I was able to perceive my life as full of probabilities and alternative possibilities.

This cognitive method has proved to be no less useful in my everyday academic practice. In the process of learning, people usually absorb so much information that it becomes difficult to memorize it, let alone understand it. The cognitive method allows one to bring the information obtained in lectures and in books closer to one’s personal experience, to compare new knowledge with already created ideas. It was this kind of mental practice that allowed me to improve my critical thinking, to make it less closed within the boundaries of my own ideas about the world. This strategy thus improves cognitive flexibility, making the mind more open to new concepts and knowledge.

The information entering the human consciousness is adapted to perception with the help of cognitive devices that make this information more accessible. Often in academic practice, cases of complete misunderstanding of the material presented by teachers or in textbooks are possible (Akmam et al., 2018). It can be assumed that this is primarily due to the lack of adaptive mechanisms that would allow us to perceive and remember information. The cognitive-conflict tactics here seems to be the most convenient and practically applicable, since the conflict in this case always takes place between new knowledge and the student’s immediate consciousness. If the student becomes aware of this conflict, they will probably have the opportunity to build a certain logical chain in order to adapt the thought to the needs of their intellect. In an even better outcome of things, the conflicting information will be accepted as new without adjustments, since the student themselves will be ready to accept the thought with their adapted consciousness.

Thus, this strategy seemed to me as extremely successful for everyday use. In an academic environment, it seems to be quite useful because it allows me to assess how any scientific information relates to my personal ideas. This allows not only to remember, but also to critically interpret any information. In this way, not only the skill is improved, but also the speed of thinking and writing, as well as additional ideas and ways of expressing them appear. Based on the increased level of creativity in thinking and a sense of relief in organizing and writing essays, I can say that the conflict thinking strategy has proven to be successful.


Akmam, A., et al. (2018). Influence of learning strategy of cognitive conflict on student misconception in computational physics course. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 335. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Cognitive Conflict Theory in Everyday Use." September 6, 2023.