Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Self-deception: Adaptation or by-product?

Hugo Merciera1

Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.


By systematically biasing our beliefs, self-deception can endanger our ability to successfully convey our messages. It can also lead lies to degenerate into more severe damages in relationships. Accordingly, I suggest that the biases reviewed in the target article do not aim at self-deception but instead are the by-products of several other mechanisms: our natural tendency to self-enhance, the confirmation bias inherent in reasoning, and the lack of access to our unconscious minds.