Home Theories Self-consistency


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Sure! Self-consistency is a cognitive bias that refers to our strong desire to be consistent in our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. This bias drives us to seek out information that confirms our existing beliefs and to ignore or reject information that contradicts them. We also tend to interpret new information in a way that supports our beliefs, even if the evidence is weak or ambiguous. This bias can lead us to make decisions that are not aligned with our best interests, and it can be particularly strong when we have made a public commitment to a particular belief or action.

Table of contents:
  1. What is Self-Consistency?
  2. How does Self-Consistency impact website and application design?
    1. 1. Align website features with user identity
    2. 2. Use social proof
    3. 3. Encourage small and consistent steps
  3. Conclusion

Sure, here you go!

Cognitive Bias: Self-Consistency

When it comes to designing effective websites and applications, understanding human behavior is essential. One key aspect of human behavior is the cognitive bias - a systematic error in thinking that affects our judgments and decision-making processes. In this blog post, we will discuss the cognitive bias of self-consistency and how it can be used to improve website and application design.

What is Self-Consistency?

Self-consistency bias is the tendency to believe that our past attitudes and behaviors reflect our current attitudes and behaviors. Essentially, we believe that we are consistent in who we are and what we do over time. This bias is rooted in the cognitive need for consistency and stability, as we seek to avoid the cognitive dissonance that arises from conflicting attitudes and beliefs.

For example, if someone has identified as a vegetarian for years, they will likely continue to identify as a vegetarian in the future. They may be less likely to try meat-based dishes, even if they are presented in an appealing way. This is because their past behavior of avoiding meat-based dishes is consistent with their current identity as a vegetarian.

How does Self-Consistency impact website and application design?

Self-consistency bias can be leveraged in website and application design to encourage users to take specific actions or make certain decisions. By understanding that users may be resistant to changing their behaviors or attitudes, designers can create user experiences that reinforce self-consistency and encourage users to continue with their current behaviors.

Here are some ways that self-consistency can be applied in website and application design:

1. Align website features with user identity

When users identify with a certain group or identity, they are more likely to see the world in a way that supports that identity. Website and application design can align with specific user identities by featuring content and design elements that reinforce that identity. For example, a website that caters to runners might feature images of runners, exercise routines, and products that are tailored to runners.

2. Use social proof

Social proof is the idea that people are more likely to adopt a behavior or attitude if they see others doing it. In website and application design, social proof can be used to reinforce self-consistency by highlighting the behaviors and decisions of others with a similar identity or persona as the user. User reviews, social media shares, and endorsements from trusted sources can all be used to highlight the behaviors and attitudes of others, making it more likely that the user will follow suit.

3. Encourage small and consistent steps

Self-consistency bias can be leveraged to encourage users to take small and consistent steps toward a larger goal. If users believe that their past behaviors and attitudes are consistent with their current ones, they will be more likely to continue with those behaviors and attitudes in the future. This means that website and application design can encourage small steps toward a larger goal by providing users with incremental progress indicators and other forms of feedback that highlight their progress.


Self-consistency bias is just one of many cognitive biases that can be leveraged in website and application design to improve user experiences. By understanding how self-consistency works and how it impacts user behavior, designers can create more effective and engaging user experiences that encourage users to take specific actions and make certain decisions. Whether it's aligning website features with user identity, using social proof to highlight user behaviors, or encouraging small and consistent steps, self-consistency bias can be a powerful tool for improving user experiences and driving conversions.

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