One of the key methods of emotional abuse employed by people with narcissistic tendencies is the generalized concept called cognitive dissonance. What this abuse tactic does is create in the target a sense of unreality, confusion, and a mind-set of not trusting his or her own perception of the situation. Leon Festinger (1957) was one researcher who studied the theory of cognitive dissonance. Essentially, cognitive dissonance occurs when humans experience a state of holding two or more contradictory thoughts or beliefs in their cognition at one time. The result is a state of anxious confusion and a desire to reduce the resultant overwhelm and unbalanced perception.