As we deceive ourselves

Are you honest with yourself?

As we deceive ourselves

Each of us has a soul there are some nuances objective reality in which we refuse to believe. Self-deception - it is reasonable for us ourselves a false belief. Such beliefs are designed to address important psychological needs of the individual (eg, self-confidence). This article contains a few common ways of self-deception.

The less you know - sleep tight

One of the biggest challenges on the path to the goal - opposition backlash. Strategic ignorance can help maintain stamina. How? Person deliberately avoids information that would violate his motivation. For example, the couple at the altar pronouncing "till death do us part" does not take into account the statistics of divorce.

The denial of reality

Negation - psychological defense used against the outside world in order to create an imaginary sense of security. Denial can be a protective response to intolerable news (for example, news of cancerous tumors). The man seems to be saying to himself: "This is not happening." An example can also serve as an alcoholic who claims that he has no problem with drinking.


Arrogant individuals believe that the world revolves around them, others love them, and eventually they will come to the top. It belongs to them the slogan "Jesus loves you, but I have even more!". According to statistics, 90% of drivers believe that their driving level is above average, and 94% of large university professors consider themselves more competent than others. Unrealistic optimism may have significant consequences for health. In 2009, psychologist Lauren Nordgren found that in a group of people trying to quit smoking, are more prone to failure are those participants who were given a particularly high assessment of his willpower.

Obstruction himself

This behavior can be seen as the opposite of arrogance. If a person is not sure of their ability to learn and afraid of the border, he may refuse to perform an action that can reveal its true potential. In such cases, he is inclined to attribute the success of their skills, and the reason for the failure to connect to external factors, such as lack of training.

The tendency to flaunt the positive features of

People like it when they and the surrounding perceive them in a favorable light. However, some highly valued personal qualities (such as altruism and justice) looks invisible. And we commit actions designed to demonstrate our tastes and preferences: alms beggar stretch or change the avatar on facebook in honor of the victims of the tragedy.

selectivity in choosing data

People tend to give preference to the data that reinforce their beliefs and denied contrary to the information they need. For example, to confirm the unwelcome ideas people need more information than desirable.

Sour Grapes

In the fable the fox tries to get to the coveted bunch, but all her attempts fail. As a result, the fox is trying to convince himself that this grape it is not so necessary. If there is dissonance individual beliefs feels psychological discomfort and trying to reduce it. The motive behind it is the preservation of a positive image of their own "I".

I and other

Psychologists use the term "attribution" (or reasons) for the explanation of human events in their lives. We tend to attribute our success is a permanent feature of our character, and our defeat coincidence. We say, "You did not happen, because you're trying not enough", and at the same time: "I did not work because of a headache, because I was awake all night at the bedside of his son." Alcoholic happy to say to justify himself: "I just can not help it."


A key aspect of self-deception is that people are looking for reinforcements in bias. Self-deception is acting as a drug, dulling feeling the harsh reality or allowing a close eye on the hard facts. After all, how many years ago, said Voltaire, "Illusion of the first of all pleasures."

However, when we make a collective delusion, its effect is enhanced. For the reinforcement of their beliefs they are grouped with like-minded people and get information only from certain sources, leaving behind a large part of the objective reality.

About the author: Dr. Shahram Heshmat, Distinguished Associate Professor of Health Economics at the University of Illinois at Springfield.