Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Mele: Real self-deception

Partial belief as a solution to the logical problem of holding simultaneous, contrary beliefs in self-deception research

Keith Gibbins a1
a1 Department of Psychology, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, 6155 Australia


A major worry in self-deception research has been the implication that people can hold a belief that something is true and false at the same time: a logical as well as a psychological impossibility. However, if beliefs are held with imperfect confidence, voluntary self-deception in the sense of seeking evidence to reject an unpleasant belief becomes entirely plausible and demonstrably real.