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Reflections on self-deception

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 February 2011

William von Hippel
School of Psychology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia.
Robert Trivers
Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.


Commentators raised 10 major questions with regard to self-deception: Are dual representations necessary? Does self-deception serve intrapersonal goals? What forces shape self-deception? Are there cultural differences in self-deception? What is the self? Does self-deception have costs? How well do people detect deception? Are self-deceivers lying? Do cognitive processes account for seemingly motivational ones? And how is mental illness tied up with self-deception? We address these questions and conclude that none of them compel major modifications to our theory of self-deception, although many commentators provided helpful suggestions and observations.

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