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Cognitive Disequilibrium

Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development describes cognitive disequilibrium as a state of cognitive imbalance [1]. We experience such a state of imbalance when encountering information that requires us to develop new schema or modify existing schema (i.e., accommodate). Disequilibrium is often an uncomfortable state for individuals, thus we seek to quickly return to a state of equilibrium. If we encounter something in our environment that doesn't fit our existing schema, we may devote our mental energy to developing a new schema or adapting an existing schema. For example, a child learning how to tie her/his shoes