If a person claims to be acting according to a principle, then messages should be coherent with the principle and consistent. Messages that differ over time or that are inconsistent with the principle can cause confusion and cognitive dissonance.


Intentional reasons for contradictory messages:

(1) dishonesty

(2) hidden agenda (subterfuge)


"Human" reasons for contradictory messages:

(1) emotional lability, shifting moods

(2) dysfunction behavior

(3) memory loss (forget what was said before)

(4) failure to completely understand the principle (ignorance or misunderstanding)


Raising questions when contradictory messages are received can help to identify problems but can also be dangerous if the reason is intentional.


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