The Truth Behind Self-Deception

Monday, August 06, 2012

GYI0000522214.jpg A wait for free health care, obesity is common in Appalachia.(Getty)

A new study in the journal Preventive Medicine looked at the data from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a survey of that asks nearly 400,000 Americans to self-report their weight in 2008 and 2009. Researchers then compared these self-reports to obesity data reported by American doctors: hard data, the actual numbers on the scale. According to the self-reports, the rate of obesity decreased between 2008 and 2009. But the truth is that obesity rates increased, for both men and women, in that time.

The conclusion? A great majority of Americans are deceiving themselves when it comes to weight gain, and it turns out that self-deception is a fairly common phenomenon.

Professor Robert Trivers has spent his career studying the evolutionary psychology behind self-deception. He describes this phenomenon in his book, "The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life."


Robert Trivers

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger and Rachel Weisberg

Comments [3]

stephen foster from lubbock, texas

OK, What's the takeaway here? Anyone. Why these ostentatious, corny, competitive displays of pious compassion over the massive waves of Mexicans who flood into our country? Why the cooing and fawning over their bruised feelings at any attempt to stop this insanity. Moral conceit. The Folly of Fools. Scorn all consideration of the facts: welfare, food stamps, birth rate, crime rate, scolastic, etc. as these apply to 2nd, 3rd, 4th gen. Mex/Amers who 'are' citizens. I live among them in the hot gritty reality of Gasoline Alley. I'm poor. I can't take a jaunty trip to jolly old England for a week of broadcasting. This ain't no abstract for me. I'm stuck here and I'm paying the school taxes and for food stamps for the young couples four kid familys across the street, across the alley, and on this side and that. And I listen to you pious codescending fools preach down to me of your highminded, enlightened caring, this causa sanctorum, the illegal immigrant. And, I know that at the end of the day you drive away into the cool insulated comphy of Lollypop land.

Aug. 07 2012 12:58 AM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

We can't handle the truth!
We feel the need to put better looking photos of ourselves on our social web sites... Damn, just yesterday I said to myself about my facebook wall,"I wish I was that guy on Facebook. He has such a good life."

The danger of self deception is that others can take advantage of us if we are too deluded. I believe this is how Politicians and Wall Street can get away with so much deception.
There is a relationship between our our deceptions, delusions and the ones that others are trying to put on us

Aug. 06 2012 09:38 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

Scientific talk about self-deception

The most enduring self-deception of mankind seems to actually be that the mind determines reality. All kinds of fine people and excellently well founded science and policies are treated with outward contempt, for pointing out the fallacy in that.

It goes so far as keeping the sciences themselves from pointing out the threat to our way of life of defining our economic model as a perpetually multiplying machine. That actually defines the grandest of all human self-deceptions, the pursuit of limitlessly growing power over anything and everything we can touch.

It’s really possible to make sense of, if it wasn’t that **you too** are likely to join the club, showing contempt for the idea that to get along with the earth and not destroy ourselves, we need to find another way. We need to take that assumption that we need limitless power out of money.

Aug. 06 2012 08:19 AM

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