5 Ways You Lie To Yourself
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

5 Ways You Lie To Yourself

Check out some of the ways your mind tricks itself.

319
5 Ways You Lie To Yourself
GitHub

Aristotle defined the human as "the rational animal" because our ability to reason distinguishes us from all of the other animals. But that does not mean we always think rationally -- there are plenty of tricks we can pull on ourselves that prevent us from making logical judgments. Here are a few of the biggest ways we lie to ourselves:

1. The Dunning–Kruger effect.

The worse you are at something, the more you will overestimate your competence in that subject. As Charles Darwin said, "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge." For example, on the subject of cutting-edge physics, a quote attributed to Richard Feynman states that "if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics."

2. Hindsight Bias.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F04%2F16%2F635963959268337892-1638535303_i-knew-it-gif.gif%3Fgs%3Da&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=561&h=0e0f71cede9e505b0603d9462a490082a4e9b46ec59e1d7fa9ef99bd189c866a&size=980x&c=563391649 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F04%252F16%252F635963959268337892-1638535303_i-knew-it-gif.gif%253Fgs%253Da%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D561%26h%3D0e0f71cede9e505b0603d9462a490082a4e9b46ec59e1d7fa9ef99bd189c866a%26size%3D980x%26c%3D563391649%22%7D" expand=1]

After something happens, you overestimate 1) how well you could have predicted it and 2) the probability you could have prevented it if you had wanted to. A lot of times you think that you "knew it all along." For example, in August 2013, the Umpqua Community College shooter wrote an online post about the Vester Flanagan shooting and said that "people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are...Seems the more people you kill, the more you're [sic] in the limelight...go on [Y]outube and see the footage of him shooting those people. It's a short video but good nonetheless." Looking back on this, it may seem predictable that he would go on to commit a mass shooting. But no one predicted that he would do it -- or, if they did, no one acted on their prediction.

3. Confirmation Bias.

You overvalue the significance and validity of evidence confirming your beliefs, and you tend to seek that out instead of evidence that might contradict those beliefs. People tend to like news media that is biased towards their own viewpoints -- for example, most Fox News viewers describe themselves as conservative.

4. The Availability Heuristic.

You tend to assume that things you think about are likely and things you don't think about are unlikely. For example, though you are 2200 times more likely to die in a car accident than in a plane accident, many people are still more afraid of flying than driving. After the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers, flying rates dropped and road use jumped, causing even more deaths than the attack itself.

5. The Fundamental Attribution Error.

You tend to blame external factors for your mistakes and personal traits for others' mistakes. For example, if someone else is acting grumpy, you might call them a grumpy person, but if you are grumpy then it is because you "didn't have your coffee yet" or you "had a rough day" or something like that.

These are only a few of the ways that our perceptions are distorted, but being aware of them can help us to recognize them when they strike and overcome them.

For more information, check out some of the following resources:

Wikipedia: "List of Cognitive Biases"

About Psychology: "What Is a Cognitive Bias?"

Mental Floss: "20 Cognitive Biases That Affect Your Decisions"

io9: "The 12 Cognitive Biases that Prevent You from Being Rational"

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

To My Fellow Girls With Resting B**** Face

A letter to my friends with RBF about understanding your own face and helping others deal with it.

200
Jupe du Jour

To the girl with resting b**** face:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Boyfriends Of The 2000s

Thank you, J14, for the Posters

2704
J14 magazine

Every girl remembers her first crush. Even if your first crush was the boy in your kindergarten class that ate crayons, your first true love will always be the one that holds the key to your heart. Growing up in the 2000s, everyone knew who your dream guy was. Your family probably still give you grief and your best friends probably still reminisce, so it is impossible to forget your first celebrity crush. You bought a Tiger Beat magazine every chance you could just to read up about what your favorite celebrity was doing. Your room was fully decorated with posters of them, and it wasn't unusual to have fights with your best friends over who was going to marry him. If you were a 90's baby, lucky you because the 2000s were full of boys that were easy to love. I hope you enjoy a walk down memory lane and quickly realize that Bieber was definitely not the first guy with that hair cut. Here are 15 90's baby's first boyfriends.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

20 Things I Learned By The Start of My 20s

No one expects you to have your life together by the time you're 20, because honestly, they didn't either.

13925
Allyson Foutty

We are all often faced with many life challenges throughout the time leading up to our 20s. Before this time, and throughout it, we often look back at the things we've learned and how they've influenced who we are as people today. Some of my biggest influences were some of the challenges I've faced, but they've taught me 20 important things by the start of my 20s.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Boyfriend Recipe

The ingredients to build a relationship are a little more complicated than just a bouquet of flowers and a box of candy.

11343

Relationships. Long distance or not, significant others are much more than just that. I would be lying if I said I did not love the sweet gestures that only a boyfriend can give. The flowers, funny phone calls, hand holding, breakfast dates, and tight hugs are special but my relationship and many others out there exist on much more than just these little gestures. It is a tricky concoction that consists of one part boyfriend and two parts best friend and would not work without one part or the other. While having a relationship may not be quite as easy as baking a batch of cookies, it has its own recipe (with a few variations for flavor) to follow for a good match.

Keep Reading... Show less
google images

Fashion just keeps growing and changing and old trends are made new! Now, I'm no beauty guru, just a beauty guru wannabe, but personally I have compiled some stylish wardrobe must haves! These can be cute assets to go back to school or just to catch up on some of the latest trends...

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments