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Cognitive Dissonance Weighing Heavily on Pediatricians

Cognitive dissodenceBy Mary Romaniec

Not long ago I was at a meeting which featured a state public health pediatrician discussing how raising the smoking age leads to a lessening in tobacco use in youth. 

The physician speaking was charismatic, somewhat aloof and had a manner that signaled he was not used to being questioned contrarily.  As the lone reporter in the room I wrote his testimony and when he was done I followed him into the hall to ask follow up questions.

The conversation began simple enough, with me asking why he took on the challenge of youth tobacco use.  Turns out he was the initiator of the movement to raise the tobacco age across the country, and he did it by showing convincing data-based evidence, he said. 

Somehow we ended up on the topic of autism and special needs children when I mentioned my connection of working with families.  “Oh, so do I,” he told me.  “Only, they have to be vaccinated,” he said, with a smile that once again suggested he was not to be questioned. 

“Well, my son was vaccine injured and is medically exempt from all further vaccines,” I quipped.  “But he is also recovered Just stop no one caresfrom autism,” I added, which didn’t seem to surprise him. 

The conversation then touched on genetic predisposition, flu vaccine during pregnancy, and why some kids may be more susceptible to harm than others to the largest vaccine schedule in the world.  He paused at times to sort of agree with me since I was entirely non-confrontational, and had stopped taking notes for my report. 

Paul Offit’s friends think alike

Found out he’s a friend of Paul Offit, which explained much of the rest of our conversation.

He discussed the infant who died directly following a round of vaccines he had administered.  There were four in all of his years in practice that died within close proximity of their well check.  But the one who died suddenly bothered him.

I asked if he reported it to VAERS or acknowledged the vaccine reaction, and he shook his head.  Instead, he found a report put out in the UK that explained why these children would have died any way.  One report. 

My face must have slack-jawed since he kept talking. His body language indicated he intended to have the last word. The cadence of his speech picked up and he began to move toward the door. 

I pressed him about the vaccine schedule as being a problem, the Hepatitis B as an example of something so entirely unnecessary, but worth billions to Merck.

 “They don’t give that one anymore,” he said with conviction.  “The Boston hospitals stopped giving it a while ago,” he remarked; which I found hard to believe that any Boston hospital would go against the CDC vaccine schedule, especially one as lucrative as the Hep B.

 So I asked the obvious question as to why it was decided a good idea for newborns in the first place. “Well that one was added because there was a real need when mothers from Vietnam came here and they were heavily infected with Hepatitis B,” he stammered.

By this stage my reeling thoughts were either the guy was nuts or his knowledge of unnecessary harm was starting to spill out.  Or I was looking at the epitome of cognitive dissonance. 

Cognitive Dissonance has no parallel

A quick definition of cognitive dissonance is that people have an inner need to ensure that their beliefs and behaviors are consistent, even when faced with new evidence to challenge their assertions.  In 1957, psychologist Leon Festinger proposed the theory, saying that any inconsistency or conflicting beliefs that leads to disharmony, also leads people to avoidance. 

My simple questions to this public health pediatrician caused an odd response, and his need to avoid the obvious was palpable.  He mentioned the Omnibus ruling in the Cedillo case as being correct; after all, he had read the transcripts. “Hmmm, I know the Cedillo family,” I replied, trying to add in how the harm to their daughter was very real.  By this stage he had one foot out the door and I stopped adding fuel to the bonfire set. 

Sadly, he is emblematic of  the crisis of conscience, and mental health, other physicians must be facing as the truth unfolds before them.

In our former pediatric practice, the lone pediatrician watched the autism epidemic escalate on his watch.  More children added to the practice, more children diagnosed with autism….including his own. 

I wondered how many he would diagnose before the harsh reality would hit him. How many similar stories? I wondered how many other pediatricians were seeing the same tragedy hit their child, only to turn around and vaccinate the next child without a word of caution to the parent. 

After speaking at an event in San Francisco, a lovely pediatrician clutched my book Victory over Autism to have me sign.  She thanked me for the talk in which I described my son’s recovery from autism, detailing how we had to heal his immune system.  As a holistic pediatrician in California, she had her hands full navigating the minefield of vaccine politics.

 In our brief conversation I told her that pediatricians (her colleagues) knew what was causing the rise in autism and other childhood disorders.  “You think so,” she asked, almost pleadingly.  “I know so.  How many children can come to their office and become seriously ill directly follow a well-visit that includes vaccines? When do they begin to wonder if there might be a correlation?”  They know.  Or they adopt cognitive dissonance just to head to the office every day.    

I am baffled by this mindset in medicine.  How uncomfortable does it have to get before they begin to question whether or not they had a hand in the rise in childhood illnesses?  How many parents do they have to bully into compliance before it becomes painfully obvious the parents are not the problem.  Their guilt is. 

Autism parents have “cognitive dissonance”

Likewise, we as parents are accused of having cognitive dissonance for questioning the idea that autism is not purely genetic, but has an environmental trigger.  The “science is in” crowd cites the “studies” that document what we are obviously denying.  What they fail to grasp is that we witnessed what happened to our child.  We didn’t imagine that our child had signs of autism all along, and we just missed the clues.  Nor did they suddenly become brilliant to figure out how autism has been in our midst all along, now that there was “better diagnosing.”

In his article, “Fighting Cognitive Dissonance & The Lies We Tell Ourselves,” John Grohol, Psy.D, recounts that cognitive dissonance is just one of many biases that work in our everyday lives.  He writes: We don’t like to believe that we are wrong, so we may limit our intake of new information or thinking about things in ways that don’t fit without our pre-existing beliefs.  Psychologists call this “confirmation bias.”

It isn’t so much that this is a disorder, as much as it is a chosen behavior.  Which leads to the question of how much cognitive dissonance can someone adopt before the lie overwhelms them to change directions?  I think we are on the verge of that shift simply because the burden of the lie is becoming insurmountable.

What happens when the autism rates are 1 in 2?  Parents will flee pediatricians in droves, a trend we are seeing happen as families are dismissed by the practice, or leave voluntarily.  Vaccine mandates will bring about the unintended consequence of creating sheer ill will toward pediatricians. 

Cognitive dissonance will cease to exist when the lies are universally exposed, or the guilty conscience overwhelms the physician who swore an oath to first do no harm…but harmed any way.  More good pediatricians will leave traditional medicine and opt for a safer (saner) approach to vaccines, and they certainly will listen to the parents more than they do today. 

Cognitive dissonance has a life cycle when looked at as a whole.  Think of how we have shifted attitudes and perceptions over the generations, mainly because the lies were too much of a burden for society to accept: civil rights, women’s rights, green energy, smoking, etc.

So too will the shift happen in pediatrics. It has too.  Until it does, we need to keep telling our stories. 

Mary Romaniec is a reporter who lives in Massachusetts. She is the author of Victory over Autism: Practical Steps and Wisdom toward Recovery for the Whole Family.  She writes, speaks and advocates for families of special needs children.



John Martin

This is very interesting to me. I have studied cult mind control in depth, mostly to help free some of my family from a mind control cult. Cognitive dissonance is a major part of the key to free them. The cult controls the victim's milieu to prevent the dissonance in the face of often ridiculous beliefs, and one who endeavors to free the victim can do much good just by supplying information, usually in the form of behavior, that causes cognitive dissonance. Eventually the racket in their mind drives them to seek the truth and escape the mind control.

It's done gently and consistently. I believe that given the flood of informed parents telling pediatricians what their observations and concerns are will eventually enable them to buck the tide in enough numbers to turn it.


At Thinking Mom's Revolution a doctor there commented on the Sears case saying that many of the doctors realize and worry about what's happening but they are afraid of in debt. There really needs to be a day where a stand is taken. They need to grow a pair collectively and do something. Safety in numbers. Fight together or hang separately...


Sue - the very fact that mandates are increasing is a sign that too many people are waking up.
Do you think it's a coincidence that mandates are coming precisely at the time when so many people are talking about explosion of autism rates, increasing Alzheimers (not just because the population is aging), ADHD, learning disabilities, speech delay, childhood cancer and juvenile diabetes, etc. etc. ad nauseam...

No Sue, mandates are there to ENSURE the carnage. We're operating under a business plan that has been very carefully worked out. If I told you who's behind it, you wouldn't believe me. We're all at different points in the Matrix, and at different points of "waking up." You need to care for your family and loved ones at this point.

Watch out and be skeptical of everything. If you're Catholic, pray to Maria, the Blessed Mother. As she said simply in Fatima in 1917:

"Only I can help you now."


wonderful article and wonderful comments. when are policy makers going to start listening to us?


I have been waiting 14 years for things to change. But the number of vaccines in the CDC schedule just keeps growing.

How many more have been harmed over that time? How many more infants and toddlers and their families must suffer?

I hope Vaxxed will finally change things but it seems there are just more and more vaccine mandates.


Four babies died in his practice closely following vaccines and it didn't make him stop and think, didn't make him wonder a little? This is why most pediatricians and their nurses make me sick. I often think do they know and keep doing it anyway or could they really be that stupid and clueless? And no VAERS reports! Doctors like him should be the ones up for losing their licenses, not courageous ones like Dr. Sears. We really need to start encouraging young mothers to bypass pediatricians entirely - go to family doctors, etc. I mean I know there are some good peds, but really guys like him are the norm. How pathetic. It is no wonder so many of our children are injured for profit and then kicked to the curb by their doctors when the damage is done. Pretty much the entire medical profession disgusts me anymore. Thank you Ms. Romaniec for a very eye opening article.


Thank you for the article. Reading it momentarily relieves the crushing reality of what is happening to so many children. How far off, I wonder, is that glorious day when the critical mass of awakened people is achieved so that the perps begin fleeing for the door, not in a manner of dismissal as this guy did but to disassociate themselves from their previous beliefs. In the short tape of Congressman Chaffez circulating I thought there was a hint of that when he said, this happened before his tenure, that is, the 1986 Law that allowed Big Pharma to not worry about making a safe vaccine and allowed doctors to forget their oath to "first, do no harm." Will there be a time soon when the former vaccine goons start changing their tune... hope for that day!!

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you for these astute observations.

Some physicians speaking out here:



I wonder if a complaint with the medical board could be filed for his failure to report the vaccine injury?

Anne McElroy Dachel

Thank you, Mary.....you showed us the mindset of doctors who damage kids.


Good article. But it goes to highlight how awful our strategy has hitherto been.

We have spent most of the past few decades trying to yield as much as possible to the medical industry rather than forcing doctors, parents etc to confront their cognitive dissonance.

"Vaccines are super duper awesome but we just want to make them a little bit safer".

"We aren't anti-vaccine! We just want to have a choice."

These are the sorts of idiotic statements that reinforce in the other side that they are in the right.

If you want a powerful statement - the most powerful statement in fact. Say:

"rates of paralysis have increased since the polio vaccine".

Doctors and others rationalise to themselves that all the vaccine injuries are worth it because every smart person knows that science eradicated polio and if not for vaccine "science" every child would be a cripple.

The moment you say the above, the whole thing starts crashing down for them. They will go into hyper defensive mode because without this belief about polio being eradicated, they have absolutely nothing left to rationalise with.

The second (perhaps equal) most powerful statement is:

"If you think vaccines are so safe then take the entire infant schedule adjusted for your body weight. Please don't tell me you subject your children to something you would be too petrified to subject yourself to."

Again, it strikes at the cognitive dissonance that people who believe in vaccines need to hold.

The statement about polio proves that the entire paradigm is worthless. A complete waste of time.

The second statement ensures that people are fully aware of just how horrific the action of vaccinating one's child is.

Bob Moffit

Article author ... Mary Romaniec is a reporter who lives in Massachusetts:

"A quick definition of cognitive dissonance is that people have an inner need to ensure that their beliefs and behaviors are consistent, even when faced with new evidence to challenge their assertions."

@ AoA valued contributor Danchi writes:

"For some it's cognitive dissonance but for others it's a consciousness choice"

Ah yes ... and .. therein lies the rub .. BOTH .. Mary and Danchi are right.

Yet .. there is vast DISTINCTION between the two.

For those who have an "inner need to ensure their beliefs and behaviors are consistent" .. we can blame those who "taught" them .. those "beliefs and behaviors". How so?

Consider the lyrics of South Pacific "song" .. as they apply to Mary's definition of "cognitive dissonance" .. as it applies to pediatricians ... instead of "eyes oddly made" and "skin a different shade" .. insert parents of .. "vaccine injured" .. and .. "autism":

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

And so .. I wholeheartedly agree with Danchi .. the real culprits are the "teachers" .. those .. like Offit .. and .. the vaccine industry .. including complicit public health officials .. who have devoted their entire life-time profiting from vaccines .. with "callous disregard" for the millions of innocent children .. and .. their families .. who have suffered the dire consequences of their "conscious choice" ... to "teach" pediatricians ... how to "hate" parents .. who want nothing less then exercising their Constitutional Right to "informed consent".

A world gone completely mad .. and .. from the bottom of my heart .. with all respectful apologies to Mary .. who I have great respect and admiration for .. it is not "cognitive dissonance" .. it is .. and .. has always been .. from the beginning smallpox vaccine ... MONEY.


Apparently candy is not the only thing that is easily taken away from a baby. The exploitation of infancy sickens me to my very core. How educated people can convince themselves that children are "born this way" is beyond logic.

Kathryn B

Interesting how that doctor dug and dug until he found a lone UK article which explained why the child would have died anyway. What is especially interesting is that if others of us read the same article, we probably wouldn't have felt it explained it anyway. Does one article mean the science is in?

Joanie Calem

Mary I really appreciate this article. And I also appreciate how you handled this situation so gracefully, NOT calling this man out on his nonsense, though you would have been entirely justified in doing so. You were in a situation that could have so easily become combative given the topic at hand and this man's clear cognitive dissonance, and yet you let him stew in his own answers (juices).
I am forever ruminating on how to maneuver the current climate of "anti-vaxxers are crazy and irresponsible," "it has been proven that vaccinations do no harm," etc. As the parent of a child with autism, at this point, I simply say, "do some more research. go check out some of the articles online that are not being censored by the CDC. there is way more to this story than what you are currently recognizing." and then I leave it to that person's cognitive dissonance to kick in! At the moment, that is my MO, which seems to be working a bit better than the face-to-face shouting matches.


For some it's cognitive dissonance but for others it's a consciousness choice. I have a cousin that is an MD in the US and know thru her many others doctors. She is an integrative Dr. and doesn't vaccinated. In the last year her case load has increased with college age youth that, in order to attend college had to be vaccinated. She told me recently she is treating these young people for a variety of stomach issues (MMR) which has compelled her to get access to the kids medical records from their pediatricians. Of course to do due diligence to her patients she consults with the Drs on their previous health history and she say the conversations become very strained and combative in some cases when she asks them why they are not following up on care with the kids they had vaccinated, they gave variety of reason. One she says stands out that really pissed her off was the woman told her that the young man was a teen and she didn't treat teens yet 3 months prior she gave him the MMR. The woman made a excuse saying she was busy hung up.

My MD cousin fully believes that these Drs are not suffering from Cognitive Dissonance. They KNOW the vaccines are a problem but are too scared of "being Wakefield". When she does get together with other MD's she often hears statements like "I have a family to support" or "I'm still paying for medical school". In the state she live is she know from experience just how aggressive the pro-vaccine public health officials are having bumped heads with them often. I think the majority of the Drs KNOW that vaccines are a problem and they simply rationalize turning a blind eye to the problem the same way many Nazi soldiers turned a blind eye to the suffering of the people in concentration camps by saying they were following orders and someone else told them it was OK-I give the orders. I make the decisions. How many of you did a experiment in college where you were told to push a button and the person in another room would receive a shock. I do. I was constantly assured it was OK, the professor was responsible and I was just following orders. I was not given any feedback on my behavior because I kept asking too many questions. I finally told the person if you are responsible how come you can't push the button yourself? I was told thank you for your participation and that was it. So Drs know something is wrong-they just don't have the courage to open their eyes completely because than they would see themselves and realize they harming children, the most vulnerable humans on the planet, consciously. Hard to live with.

William H. Gaunt

Wonderful article. When will we achieve a critical mass of cognitive dissonance? Soon we hope.

Hans Litten

“But he is also recovered Just stop no one caresfrom autism,”
You lucky so & so Mary !!!!!

"Found out he’s a friend of Paul Offit"
Really - very surprised that man has any friends quite frankly . Cant you name this person ?

"….including his own. "
Obviously I could never be happy at another innocent childs life ruined !
But is it wrong of me , to be pleased about that , pleased because that is the depth of his stupidity.
I guess at least it makes him an honest man , even if somewhat dim .

Mary , I have reached out to several politicians here in the UK , and from the questions they ask me back it suggests to me they already know the full facts of the situation !
The politicians and doctors and dentists are all collaborating in criminal activity - poisoning people

I haven't been to a doctor in 20 years and I encourage others to follow suit .
Boycott the medical profession as much as you can .
They are not required if you are in good health , and if you are in poor health you are risking life and limb going anywhere near them anyway (eg flu jab for seniors).
Similarly for the dentists who criminally put mercury in the mouths of the working class children here in the UK - and this policy is still going on with the blessing of parties like the SNP in Scotland.

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