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Posts tagged "Self-Justification"


Having Another, the Maladaptive Habit of Near-Missing

Charles Duhigg talks about it in his new book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business. Pop-psychologist-writer Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine, co-editor of Wired magazine, talks about it. Act Three of one most recent This American Life episode about stories from casinos, called “Blackjack,” hits on it, […]

Argumentative Apes and the Wisdom of Foolishness: A Social Science Roundup

Two weeks ago, New Scientist wrote an excellent article alluding to many of the social science themes we cover. We’ll start with two thought-experiments noted in the article that illustrate human selfishness or irrationality: 1. Imagine an outbreak of disease threatening a small town of 600 people.  Given budget constraints, we can develop treatment A, which […]

Sympathy for the Elder Brother

In keeping with the excellent article by Tullian Tchividjian over on the Gospel Coalition site about being self-righteous toward the self-righteous; a song by singer/songwriter Chris Knight came to mind. The title of this post was chosen in order to bring to mind the parallels between sympathy toward “elder brother”-types and sympathy for a more […]

Jonathan Haidt Is a Chronic Liar? Dirty Dishes, Intuitive Excuses and Self-Justification

From the opening of the third chapter of Jonathan Haidt’s brand-new book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, which hit the stands last week. As you’ll see, for those interested in the human propensity for self-justification (and the problems that causes), it’s an absolute must-read: On February 3, 2007, […]

The Secret Cost of Getting Paid to Do What You Love: Self-Perception Theory and the Overjustification Effect

A few months ago, the man behind the invaluable You Are Not So Smart blog, David McRaney, put out a book of the same name (actually, the full title is You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding […]

“Weeping and Lifting Weights”: Getting Real with The Bachelor

Did you see this Monday’s Bachelor? When Casey S. got called to come outside and talk to Chris about something important, you knew, you knew it was something important. You just knew her bags were packed, she was leaving her chance at, her life with Ben. Casey S. had that look, like “I know I’m […]

The Mouse Knows What You Want: Disney Marketing and the Celebration of Self

It’s no great revelation that Disney is a for-profit corporation with targeted marketing strategies. In fact, of all the corporations marketing to children (or the child within us), Disney has the most targeted marketing I’ve ever seen. From my vantage point, this is what Disney marketing does so well: it takes everything that we as […]

Neophilia: Why New Is Never Enough

NPR recently reviewed a writer who knows exactly why you continue to check Facebook every three minutes. The woman, Winifred Gallagher, has just written a book,  New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change, about the human propensity for all things new. More than it just being a symptom of modern consumerism, more than it […]

Righteous Minds, Moral Matrices, and the Real (Non-)Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives

Are our brains fundamentally wired to experience and filter reality according to standards of moral righteousness? And if so, what’s the emotional and relational cost? We know how the Apostle Paul would respond, and we now know how cutting-edge UVA social psychologist Jonathan Haidt would. In an interview over at The Scientific American, Haidt talks […]

Anne’s A, Burt’s B, and the Conclusive Convenience of the “Myside”

Libertarian economist Daniel B. Klein published an article in the Wall Street Journal that made some strong statements about the left-leaning, based on research he thought was well-founded. Flocks of conservatives and libertarians write back in sweeping jubilation, thanking Klein for affirming what they already knew was true; flocks of liberals fling back scathing rebuttals […]

Frank and Debra and the Assassin of Love

We come now to the final part of our series on self-justification, as articulated in the stellar book Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts, and I think you’ll agree that we saved the best – certainly the most crucial – for last. (Part One, […]

Vivian Gornick and the Sandpile That Crushed the Life Out of Love

A particularly arresting example of self-justification and its effect on love from Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts, which will be familiar to those who’ve listened to the talks from the recent Bham conference: At the age of sixty five, the feminist writer and […]