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Self-deception: Adaptation or by-product?

  • Hugo Mercier (a1)

By systematically biasing our beliefs, self-deception can endanger our ability to successfully convey our messages. It can also lead lies to degenerate into more severe damages in relationships. Accordingly, I suggest that the biases reviewed in the target article do not aim at self-deception but instead are the by-products of several other mechanisms: our natural tendency to self-enhance, the confirmation bias inherent in reasoning, and the lack of access to our unconscious minds.

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P. Carruthers (2009b) How we know our own minds: The relationship between mindreading and metacognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32(2):121–82.

B. M. DePaulo , J. J. Lindsay , B. E. Malone , L. Muhlenbruck , K. Charlton & H. Cooper (2003) Cues to deception. Psychological Bulletin 129(1):74118.

P. H. Kim , D. L. Ferrin , C. D. Cooper & K. T. Dirks (2004) Removing the shadow of suspicion: The effects of apology versus denial for repairing competence-versus integrity-based trust violations. Journal of Applied Psychology 89(1):104.

R. S. Nickerson (1998) Confirmation bias: A ubiquitous phenomena in many guises. Review of General Psychology 2:175220.

R. Raghunathan & Y. Trope (2002) Walking the tightrope between feeling good and being accurate: Mood as a resource in processing persuasive messages. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83(3):510–25.

M. E. Schweitzer , J. Hershey & E. Bradlow (2006) Promises and lies: Restoring violated trust. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 101:119.

D. Sperber , F. Clément , C. Heintz , O. Mascaro , H. Mercier , G. Origgi & D. Wilson (2010) Epistemic vigilance. Mind & Language 25(4):359–93.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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