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  • Cited by 3
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Funkhouser, Eric and Barrett, David 2016. Robust, unconscious self-deception: Strategic and flexible. Philosophical Psychology, Vol. 29, Issue. 5, p. 682.

    Chance, Zoë and Norton, Michael I 2015. The what and why of self-deception. Current Opinion in Psychology, Vol. 6, p. 104.

    Van Leeuwen, Neil 2013. The folly of fools: The logic of deceit and self-deception in human life. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, Vol. 18, Issue. 1-2, p. 146.


Representations and decision rules in the theory of self-deception

  • Steven Pinker (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 03 February 2011

Self-deception is a powerful but overapplied theory. It is adaptive only when a deception-detecting audience is in the loop, not when an inaccurate representation is invoked as an internal motivator. First, an inaccurate representation cannot be equated with self-deception, which entails two representations, one inaccurate and the other accurate. Second, any motivational advantages are best achieved with an adjustment to the decision rule on when to act, not with a systematic error in an internal representation.

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N. Epley & E. Whitchurch (2008) Mirror, mirror on the wall: Enhancement in self recognition. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 34:1159–70.

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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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