378 pp. OK, maybe we’ve led you on a bit and you didn’t guess it! But what are we supposed to do in our everyday lives? Those who travel the route of shame and blame will eventually begin rewriting the story of their marriage. We cannot avoid our psychological blind spots, but if we are unaware of them we may become unwittingly reckless, crossing ethical lines and making foolish decisions. Therefore, when you are about to make a big purchase or an important decision—which car or computer to buy, whether to undergo plastic surgery, or whether to sign up for a costly self-help program—don't ask someone who has just done it, If you want advice on what product to buy, ask someone who is still gathering information and is still open-minded. Boost your life and career with the best book summaries. “In the horrifying calculus of self-deception, the greater the pain we inflict on others, the greater the … (but not by me)). People called for investigations into the numerous reports of physical and sexual abuse which were spreading around like wildfire. For any theory to be scientific, it must be stated in such a way that it can be proven false. #BLACKFRIDAY 12min - Get your career back on track! Memories are distorted in a self-enhancing direction in all sorts of ways. Working in couples is all about arguing, and self-justification. Scientific reasoning is useful to anyone in any job because it makes us face the possibility, even the dire reality, that we were mistaken. Review by James Creech. Cognitive dissonance is a state of tension that occurs whenever a person holds two cognitions (ideas, attitudes, beliefs, opinions) that are psychologically inconsistent, such as Smoking is a dumb thing to do because it could kill me and I smoke two packs a day. Once we understand how and when we need to reduce dissonance, we can become more vigilant about the process and often nip it in the bud; like Oprah, we can catch ourselves before we slide too far down the pyramid. People will pursue self-destructive courses of action to protect the wisdom of their initial decisions. In Japan, mistakes, error, confusion [are] all just a natural part of the learning process. I have a text book (mistakes were made. Mistakes were made—but not in this book!” —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness. Rating: 8/10. the prophecy failed. Just think of your partner! While happy partners are giving each other the benefit of the doubt, unhappy partners are doing just the opposite. In his groundbreaking study of more than 700 couples, whom he followed over a period of years, psychologist John Gottman found that contempt—criticism laced with sarcasm, name calling, and mockery—is one of the strongest signs that a relationship is in free fall. One lamentable consequence of the belief that mistakes equal stupidity is that when people do make a mistake, they don't learn from it. Terms in this set (17) What are the benefits to self justification?-if you didn't self justify, you would literally be killing yourself over every bad decision you ever made and dwell on it Fortunately, we can also better understand the conditions under which prejudices diminish: when the economic competition subsides, when the truce is signed, when the profession is integrated, when they become more familiar and comfortable, when we are in a position to realize that they aren't so different from us. ... Summary Notes “Most people, when directly confronted by evidence that they are wrong, do not change their point of view or course of action but justify it even more tenaciously. Buy Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts Reprint by Tavris, Carol, Aronson, University Emeritus Elliot (ISBN: 9780544574786) from Amazon's Book Store. Second, America is a mistake-phobic culture, one that links mistakes with incompetence and stupidity. Quotes from Mistakes Were Made I will look at any additional evidence to confirm the opinion to which I have already come. Certainly one of the most powerful stories that many people wish to live by is the victim narrative. What they do show is that if a person voluntarily goes through a difficult or a painful experience in order to attain some goal or object, that goal or object becomes more attractive. But the vast majority of couples who drift apart do so slowly, over time, in a snowballing pattern of blame and self-justification. At its core, therefore, science is a form of arrogance control. It is no longer an effort to solve a problem or even to get the other person to modify his or her behavior; it's just to wound, to insult, to score. Page 198. We say, I was provoked; anyone would do what I did; or I had no choice; or Yes, I said some awful things, but that wasn't me—it's because I was drunk. 3. Either one of these actions, if taken unilaterally, is difficult and for many people impossible, Christensen and Jacobson say.  Would definitely recommend reading. The most powerful piece of evidence a detective can produce in an investigation is a confession, because it is the one thing most likely to convince a prosecutor, jury, and judge of a person's guilt. 6 min read. Second, this ability can get us into big trouble. When children or adults fear failure, they fear risk. The kind that can erode a marriage, however, reflects a more serious effort to protect not what we did but who we are, and it comes in two versions: I'm right and you're wrong and Even if I'm wrong, too bad; that's the way I am. Thank you! Book Review: Mistakes Were Made (but not by me) Conflict is a natural part of the human condition, present in personal relationships, work settings, criminal justice, politics, and likely every human endeavor. We have the human qualities of intelligence and deep emotions, but theyare dumb, they are crybabies, they don't know the meaning of love, shame, grief, or remorse, A stereotype might bend or even shatter under the weight of disconfirming information, but the hallmark of prejudice is that it is impervious to reason, experience, and counterexample, Social psychologists Chris Crandall and Amy Eshelman, reviewing the huge research literature on prejudice, found that whenever people are emotionally depleted—when they are sleepy, frustrated, angry, anxious, drunk, or stressed—they become more willing to express their real prejudices toward another group, Nice try, but the evidence shows clearly that while inebriation makes it easier for people to reveal their prejudices, it doesn't put those attitudes in their minds in the first place, But most people are unhappy about believing it, and that creates dissonance: I dislike those people collides with an equally strong conviction that it is morally or socially wrong to say so, By understanding prejudice as our self-justifying servant, we can better see why some prejudices are so hard to eradicate: They allow people to justify and defend their most important social identities—their race, their religion, their sexuality—while reducing the dissonance between I am a good person and I really don't like those people. If we are to be careful about what we wish for because it might come true, we must also be careful which memories we select to justify our lives, because then we will have to live by them. Your submission has been received! The accusers, however, didn’t back out. Observation and intuition, without independent verification, are unreliable guides. This chapter sheds light on the manifestations of 'blind spots' in our minds. Tell it to the marines. As vivid as it is. Successful couples have five times as many positive interactions to negative ones. MicroSummary: In “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me),” oft-cited and celebrated social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson deal with the nature and the problems of many self-justification mechanisms (such as cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, and fabricated memory), while trying to show that the only way for a person to grow is by acknowledging his or her … Confessions can be elicited from defendants legally by using deceit, trickery, etc., and suspects will often confess to reduce their own cognitive dissonance between what a detective is telling them (evidence), and what they believe. Decades into the future and, even though there were no related news whatsoever in the meantime, these people still claim the same. If it is only the perpetrator who apologizes and tries to atone, it may not be done honestly or in a way that assuages and gives closure to the victim's suffering. What if you’re a member of the government, a doctor, or a police officer. The greater their confidence, the greater the dissonance they will feel if confronted with evidence that they were wrong, and the greater the need to reject that evidence. Every marriage is a story, and like all stories, it is subject to its participants' distorted perceptions and memories that preserve the narrative as each side sees it. I need to write summary on Introduction, Chapter 3-5 (750 words) ISBN 978 - 0 - 15-603390-9. Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Caroll Tavris and Elliot Aronson Summary An insightful examination of how and why we self-justify everything we do and the … Mistakes Were Made will not turn us into angels, but it is hard to think of a better—or more readable—guide to the mind's most devilish tricks." Instead, they were now even more convinced that there are powerful satanic cults all around. People become more certain they are right about something they just did if they can't undo it. They shift from minimizing negative aspects of the marriage to overemphasizing them, seeking every bit of supporting evidence to fit their new story. Along with the confirmation bias, the brain comes packaged with other self-serving habits that allow us to justify our own perceptions and beliefs as being accurate, realistic, and unbiased. The basic principle is: if the abuse was traumatic at the time it occurred, it is unlikely to be forgotten. Confidence is a fine and useful quality; none of us would want a physician who was forever wallowing in uncertainty and couldn't decide how to treat our illness, but we do want one who is open-minded and willing to learn. Yet training that promotes the certainties of pseudoscience, rather than a humbling appreciation of our cognitive biases and blind spots, increases the chances of wrongful convictions in two ways. Could I change? Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts Whether they accepted the blame or not, most perpetrators, eager to exorcise their dissonant feelings of guilt, bracketed the event off in time. Boston, MA: Mariner Books. The more costly a decision, in terms of time, money, effort, or inconvenience, and the more irrevocable its consequences, the greater the dissonance and the greater the need to reduce it by overemphasizing the good things about the choice made. The chapter tells … 1. At the simplest level, memory smoothes out the wrinkles of dissonance by enabling the confirmation bias to hum along, selectively causing us to forget discrepant, disconfirming information about beliefs we hold dear. In contrast, the couples who grow together over the years have figured out a way to live with a minimum of self-justification, which is another way of saying that they are able to put empathy for the partner ahead of defending their own territory. Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. But because most new partners do not start out in a mood of complaining and blaming, psychologists have been able to follow couples over time to see what sets some of them, but not others, on a downward spiral. And we didn’t even see how some of these brain mechanisms work in daily practice. Con artists take advantage of people's best qualities—their kindness, politeness, and their desire to honor their commitments, reciprocate a gift, or help a friend. She has authored numerous articles and books mainly dealing with the origin, the nature and the effects of pseudoscience. When you do anything that harms someone else—get them in trouble, verbally abuse them, or punch them out—a powerful new factor comes into play: the need to justify what you did, Fortunately, dissonance theory also shows us how a person's generous actions can create a spiral of benevolence and compassion, a virtuous circle. Both Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson are names in their profession and of course we believe them – even when they sound more like popular scientists than eminent psychologists. 2. By the time a couple's style of argument has escalated into shaming and blaming each other, the very purpose of their quarrels has shifted. But, anyone who wants to be in a healthy relationship take this book seriously as well! The tipping point at which a couple starts rewriting their love story, Gottman finds, is when the magic ratio dips below five-to-one: Successful couples have a ratio of five times as many positive interactions (such as expressions of love, affection, and humor) to negative ones (such as expressions of annoyance and complaints). The trouble is that once people develop an implicit theory, the confirmation bias kicks in and they stop seeing evidence that doesn’t fit it. And they are going to have to decide how to think about their own way of doing things. Extensively updated, this third edition has many recent and revealing examples, including the application of dissonance theory to divisive social issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement and he said/she … You’ve started, don’t stop! The chapter tells numerous stories around the theme of "blind spots". Click to read more about Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris. But, how can you oppose them? Not admitting your mistakes may lead to a bad decision such as invading Iraq (ups! Be advised: You will never be able to shun blame quite so casually again. Whenever world-renowned experts publish something under a catchy-sounding title, don’t doubt for a second that it’s important to take note! We assume that other reasonable people see things the same way we do. Keep reading with Blinkist Start your free Blinkist trial to get unlimited access to key ideas from Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) and over 4,500 other nonfiction titles. Clinicians, particularly in psychology, should be concerned about confirmation bias, both in their self-confidence in their expert assessments, and also in their evaluations and interviewing of children on subjects like abuse. Understanding without vengeance, reparation without retaliation, are possible only if we are willing to stop justifying our own position. When things are going well, people feel pretty tolerant of other cultures and religions—they even feel pretty tolerant of the other sex!—but when they are angry, anxious, or threatened, the default position is to activate their blind spots. Perpetrators may be motivated to get over the episode quickly and give it closure, but victims have long memories; an event that is trivial and forgettable to the former may be a source of lifelong rage to the latter. First of all, crosschecking your memories against the memories of others. Our culture exacts a great cost psychologically for making a mistake, Stigler recalled, whereas in Japan, it doesn't seem to be that way. Self-justification is blocking each partner from asking: Could I be wrong? This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. $15.95. Other studies of the unreliability of clinical predictions, and there are hundreds of them, are dissonance-creating news to the mental-health professionals whose self-confidence rests on the belief that their expert assessments are extremely accurate. Could I—horror of horrors—learn something from my partner, maybe improve my own way of doing things? And even if you watch a thousand videos and hear thousand pundits which claim the opposite, you’ll reinterpret these claims to your favor. If a couple is arguing from the premise that each is a good person who did something wrong but fixable, or who did something blunderheaded because of momentary situational pressures, there is hope of correction and compromise. We all self-justify as a way to protect against cognitive dissonance, whether positively or negatively. Successful couples will give the benefit of the doubt to their partners, just as they would to themselves: they did something bad because of the situation, etc., but if they do something good, it’s because of who they are. Ex. All of us have hard decisions to make at times in our lives; not all of them will be right, and not all of them will be wise. Yet when we do something generous, helpful, or brave, we don't say we did it because we were provoked or drunk or had no choice, or because the guy on the phone guilt-induced us into donating to charity. (Three other commissions, on human rights violations, amnesty, and reparation and rehabilitation, were also created.) If you’ve answered b) – you just learned what cognitive dissonance is and how it messes you up. And it’s even more interesting how this was discovered! ...more. Society Will Work Better If People Admitted When They’re Wrong But if the new information is dissonant, then we consider it biased or foolish: What a dumb argument! A must-read book about cognitive bias. They ruminate about their pain or grievances for months, sometimes for years, and sometimes for decades. ), the death of a patient, or a wrongly convicted criminal. Mistakes were made, by them. Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts BY CAROL TAVRIS AND ELLIOTT ARONSON Orlando, Fla.: Harcourt, 2007 In Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me), social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson apply Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive disso-nance to various challenges to integ- Social psychologist Lee Ross calls this phenomenon naïve realism, the inescapable conviction that we perceive objects and events clearly, as they really are. Elliot Aronson is one of the most cited psychologists of the 20th century. The most common justification for lying and planting evidence is that the end justifies the means. Most people are surprised to learn that this is entirely legal. Frank and Debra are in trouble because they have begun to justify their fundamental self-concepts, the qualities about themselves that they value and do not wish to alter or that they believe are inherent in their nature. The investigations resulted in – well, a really loud false alarm. Please let me know. If they disagree with us, they obviously aren't seeing clearly. If the partner does something nice, it's because of a temporary fluke or situational demands: Yeah, he brought me flowers, but only because all the other guys in his office were buying flowers for their wives. Now, how do I remedy what I did? They just didn’t outgrow them. You watch your favorite team lose, even though you think they’re the best in the world? Implicit theories have powerful consequences because they affect, among other things, how couples argue, and even the very purpose of an argument. These protocols emphasize the hazards of the confirmation bias, instructing interviewers to test the hypothesis of possible abuse, and not assume they know what happened. The phrase “Mistakes were made” is such a glaring effort to absolve oneself of culpability that it has become a national joke — what the political journalist Bill Schneider called the “past exonerative” tense. Backed by decades of research, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-justification—how it works, the damage it can cause, and how we can overcome it. That happens, an innocent defendant is on the manifestations of 'blind spots in! Also be cognizant of their own way of doing things, a doctor or! Be cognizant of their own bias in believing this particular subject to be scientific, it encourages officials. 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