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.

289
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.

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.
Swoon

I Rated The 6 Best Seasonal Dates So You Don't Have To Go To Pinterest For Your Next Holidate

My boyfriend and I have the best holiday date list prepared so you don't have to search Pinterest for your next idea!

39425
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

I would just like to note that I am a little biased because they were all great dates, and I know he's going to read this. So here's a quick, little reminder that I love my boyfriend very much!

Keep Reading... Show less

With a huge sigh of relief, we can safely say that Joe Biden has won the election.

Keep Reading... Show less
Instagram: @greysabc

At the end of their last episode, "Grey's Anatomy" teased the return of another character from Meredith's past. After the return of Patrick Dempsey's, Derek Shepherd, Grey's fans know that no one is off-limits.

The return of these characters comes after Meredith was diagnosed with COVID-19 and began experiencing hallucinations of her loved ones.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

I love listening to Christmas music just as much as the next person, but when I turn on my local holiday radio station each year, it just feels repetitive. No hate to musicians like Burl Ives or Nat King Cole, but Christmas music needs an update. Personally, I'm tired of the same "Let It Snow" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". So plug in your Christmas tree, make some hot cocoa, and listen to these amazing (and updated) holiday songs.

Keep Reading... Show less

With the holidays right around the corner, there are many things to look forward to. Time with family, friends, great food, overall seasonal joy... And now the fragrances from Jennifer Lopez.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

10 Christmas Songs For Your Festive Playlist

I have no shame in starting to feel festive super early.

16644

All of these songs are definitely popular. However, I have the strong opinion that having the songs on your Christmas playlist be popular is extremely important. Having everyone sing to the songs is most of the fun; it adds to the festivity of whatever you're doing.

Personally, I love to bake cookies and hum along as I cannot sing and no one should ever hear me. Whatever you do for the holidays, enjoy your festive time and the season!

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

5 Movies And TV Shows That Got Mental Illness Right​

There is a very fine line between representation for mentally ill people and demonizing them for the sake of entertainment. Hollywood has a tendency to sensationalize mental illness, but these shows and movies got it right.

3351
Lionsgate

At the risk of being dismissive of all the progress we've made, mental health representation is still seriously lacking. Many shows fall into the traps of making their mentally ill character violent, making professional help seem useless, or making characters who don't reflect the reality for people living with mental illness.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

10​​ Songs That Made It Onto My November Playlist

Another month of finding new music during unusual times

46739

A new month means new music! Like each month, I've collected my top 10 new songs or discoveries into a playlist. This November didn't have too many new releases, however, I did find a few and a couple of new discoveries.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments