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Q: how do people lie to themselves? ( No Answer,   4 Comments )
Subject: how do people lie to themselves?
Category: Science > Social Sciences
Asked by: bluekat-ga
List Price: $4.00
Posted: 30 Apr 2004 04:22 PDT
Expires: 30 May 2004 04:22 PDT
Question ID: 338739
how do people lie to themselves?

many people lie to themselves, even when one could plainly point out
to that person totally rationally reasons why they are lieing to
themselves, they understand the rational reason, or seem too , they
dont come back with anything to counter the rational explanation, and
go on lieing to themselves.

I have observed this therory is that they have a
problem with accepting realality

so how is it possible to help them, or is it even possible ??

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 30 Apr 2004 08:45 PDT
>> how is it possible to help them...?<<

What leads you to believe that the person/people you have observed
lying to themselves are in need of help?  Is it your perception that
the lying is in some way pathological?

If you can provide a bit more details about the circumstances, perhaps
the researchers here may have some insights to offer.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: how do people lie to themselves?
From: sublime1-ga on 30 Apr 2004 08:40 PDT

A former girlfriend noted the following:

"A man can go 40 days without food, 3 days without water, and 
5 minutes without air, but how long can you go without a 

Point taken.

As to why, it seems to me that it has to do with the relationship
demonstrated between hypnotic states and rationalization.

It is well-documented that when hypnotized with a post-hypnotic
suggestion that one gesture will make the subject feel hot,
while a different gesture will make him feel cold, the subject
will rationalize outloud why he keeps taking his jacket off and
then putting it back on and crossing his arms. To an informed
observer, it is obvious that the subject's rationalizations
are completely irrelevant to the behavior they are supposed
to explain, since the behavior is entirely triggered by an
implanted suggestion, triggered by a gesture of which the 
subject is completely unaware.

Many wise men have suggested that, in many ways, we are all
walking around asleep, in a trance-like state equivalent to
hypnosis, and constantly influenced by subtle suggestions
and beliefs which have us spellbound, but nonetheless have
a profound impact on our behaviors. Naturally, like the man
in the example, we rationalize the choices we do not truly
understand. Otherwise, we'd either go crazy or wake up.

Subject: Re: how do people lie to themselves?
From: mmotyer-ga on 30 Apr 2004 17:15 PDT
Lying to one's self is a universal fact of life. There are many
cliches that show this to be true - being in one's comfort zone and
that all truth is relative - to name a few.

Social and familial influences, influences one's view of truth. In a
predominantly christain society you are more inclined to be christain
versus perhaps Islamic or Budhist. In certain parts of the country,
whether you are black or white and how wealthy you are might determine
if you are more likely to be a republican or democrat. If you have had
certain experiences you might have a view on abortion. A women
cohersed to keep a child might be in favor of abortion and a boyfriend
who found out about an abortion after the fact might be against it.

Those who want truth for it's own sake are in the minority. Truth that
is within man is about loyalty, relationship and emotional
experiences. When you challenge what someone believes, you are
challenging that person's identity and if it is important enough their

To help some one see your point of view they need to be CONFIDENT that
you understand their EMOTIONAL stand point. When truth is concerned -
exept for the minority - facts don't matter.

After you listen, provide an explanation of what you understand to be
that person's point of view. When they concur with you that you
understand them and you have demonstrated respect for their belief
system and goals then you have a chance to change their point of view.
Subject: Re: how do people lie to themselves?
From: neilzero-ga on 02 May 2004 20:57 PDT
Guilt trips are uncomfortable, so we ignore the painful truth and lie
to our selves. It is only moderately harmful in moderation. We should
avoid thinking that persons who fall short of our standards of
objective thinking need professional help. If the truth is more or
less irelevent to our near term mental and financial health, lieing to
ourselves = rationalization may even be beneficial, perhaps.   Neil
Subject: Re: how do people lie to themselves?
From: blakedog-ga on 30 May 2004 06:42 PDT
It sounds like the answer to your question may lie somewhere in the
theory of cognitive dissonance prosposed by carl festinger.

When you behave in such a way as to contradict your values or current
knowledge, dissonance occurs.  Dissonance is uncormforatble to us in
the sense that we as humans believe ourselves to act in a consistently
logical way.  To eleviate this discomfort we will either:
1.)Change our behaviour so it is line with our values
2.)Change our cogntions (thoughts) so they are in line with our behaviour
3.)Add new cognitions to explain our behaviour.

Therefore adding new cogntions or changing cognitions could be
interpretted as lying to ourselves.

Take smokers for example, they know its bad for them yet they continue
to smoke.  How many times has a smoker said, 'they dont smoke enough
to get ill' or something along these lines.  Since it is very
difficult for a smoker to change their behaviour (quit), they are more
likely to make up new ideas that could be wrong (you do smoke enough
to get ill!).  Therefore the smoker is lying to themself in order to
feel logical.

My answer to your question is people are somtimes motivated to lie to
themselves to feel logical.

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