Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts
  • Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts
  • Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

3.8 22
by Carol Tavris, Elliot Aronson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0151010986

ISBN-13: 9780151010981

Pub. Date: 05/07/2007

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell?

Renowned social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot…  See more details below

Overview

Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell?

Renowned social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson take a compelling look into how the brain is wired for self-justification. When we make mistakes, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right -- a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong.

Backed by years of research and delivered in lively, energetic prose, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-deception -- how it works, the harm it can cause, and how we can overcome it.

About the Authors
CAROL TAVRIS is a social psychologist and author of Anger and The Mismeasure of Woman. She has written for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Scientific American, and many other publications. She lives in Los Angeles.

ELLIOT ARONSON is a social psychologist and author of The Social Animal. The recipient of many awards for teaching, scientific research, writing, and contributions to society, he is a professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780151010981
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/07/2007
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Knaves, Fools, Villains, and Hypocrites: How Do They Live with Themselves?     1
Cognitive Dissonance: The Engine of Self-justification     11
Pride and Prejudice ... and Other Blind Spots     40
Memory, the Self-justifying Historian     68
Good Intentions, Bad Science: The Closed Loop of Clinical Judgment     97
Law and Disorder     127
Love's Assassin: Self-justification in Marriage     158
Wounds, Rifts, and Wars     185
Letting Go and Owning Up     213
Afterword     237
Endnotes     239
Index     277

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The authors intended to explain our behavior when we justify, rationalize and insist we were right when faced with the embarrassment of publicity of unintentional harm [often backed up by intentional harm.] The phenomenon of ¿acting out of a need to protect their egos¿ is ubiquitous, and even a poorly written book on the topic will be beneficial by reminding us how corruptible we are. Nevertheless, the authors have selected an explanation called ¿dissonance theory¿ and insist that it can explain just about any corrupt behavior. The problems with this overzealous application of this theory are 1--the book lacks evidence in the form of references to research on dissonance theory--the few experiments described were not originally about dissonance theory, but the authors nevertheless cavalierly rework conclusions to make it seem as proof of their theory. Thus scientific evidence becomes merely anecdotal evidence. One example of this is explaining the behavior of subjects in Milgram¿s experiment that they justified to themselves each progressive shock they administered. The actual research shows no such thing in fact the subjects themselves self-reported that they actually believed they lacked the necessary authority to determine whether or not to administer shocks, and therefore they believed that the burden was on the mock researcher, not them, to justify these decisions 2--the book ignores conventional explanations for corrupt behavior, providing no evidence against them nor for their own explanation. An example of this is saying that people continue to cheat on tests in order to justify the initial decision to cheat on a previous test, rather than that people continue to cheat because they have discovered that the consequences weren¿t as bad as they had feared 3--a neglect of differentiating factors among the various behaviors and their self-justifications: whether they followed up with narratives of the behavior or more cases of similar behavior, whether the initial behavior or its consequences were intentional or unintentional, whether the error or wrongdoing was ever publicized, whether the justification was of oneself or of other members of one¿s group, etc. In comparing experimental psychologists [presumably the authors themselves] with therapists behaving unethically, they write that science, because it depends on research, is ¿a form of arrogance control¿, which is ironic, because this is an arrogant self-excuse to convince the reader that the authors would not overapply an explanation of symptoms--the very thing the authors accuse repressed-memory theorists of doing. Nevertheless, dissonance theory likely can be used to understand certain behaviors, and the class of events as a whole comprised of malicious behavior motivated by ego preservation is very important to study.
Skeptical-DoDo More than 1 year ago
I was wonderfully impressed by the clarity and relevance of the material to actual life situations. As a student of errors this book has a lot to recommend it, as it give insights that become relevant in many aspects of life and profession. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wishes to understand human nature and how it so easy for us, as human beings, to make mistakes and then twist facts to protect our own self images. It was great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brilliant insights into a tendency we all have of deflecting blame, with great examples. The chapter on criminal justice iso particularly enlightening.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For anybody interested in learning more about the mystery that is us!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would give this book 0 stars if I could.