Here is my specific case: lately on Pandora, there have been ads for a particular brand of hamburger describing their food as far more delicious, juicy, and delectable than I have ever experienced. I feel a feeling when I hear these ads, and that's the phrase or word I'm trying to find.

When I hear the ad, I get this surreal, dissonant feeling. One one hand, my brain is getting super triggered in happy and delicious ways because of the delectable taste descriptions I am hearing. On the other hand, my brain is also saying "this is as far from a description of that food as anything I've ever heard." I am both in a small level of ecstasy imagining the hamburger that is being described while also a good level of repulsion since the source of the advertisement is the last place I would good looking for such a hamburger.

  • 1
    Something like incredulity?
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 1:02

3 Answers 3


Feeling both excited and repulsed at the same time is a form of cognitive dissonance:

: psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously

From Wikipedia:

In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance occurs when a person holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values; or participates in an action that goes against one of these three, and experiences psychological stress because of that.

In this case, you know it's bad, but the commercial makes you think it's good. You are having difficulty accepting and reacting to both things at the same time.

  • Maybe "induced cognitive dissonance"? Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 2:27
  • @NeutronStar There's nothing wrong with that. Also caused or produced, if you want a verb rather than an adjective (assuming you're thinking of induced adjectivally). Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 2:30

Probably nothing can beat "Cognitive dissonance" here, but I am throwing in my candidate all the same-- "Velleity", meaning:

1.The lowest degree of volition 2.A slight wish or tendency


How about if only or I wish?

From Lexico:

if only: Used to express a wish, especially regretfully.

From Macmillan:

I wish: used for saying that something is not true, although you would be pleased if it were true

Both of these possibilities convey a sense of cognitive dissonance.

Your example:

If only their hamburgers were as good as they say they are!

They say their hamburgers are the best ever. I wish!

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