Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)

mistakes were made

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) is a non-fiction book by social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, first published in 2007. It deals with cognitive dissonance (discomfort caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously), self-serving bias (attributing successes to internal factors and failures to external factors), and other cognitive biases (deviations in judgment), using these psychological theories to illustrate how the perpetrators of hurtful acts justify and rationalize their behavior.

It describes a positive feedback loop of action and self-deception by which slight differences between people’s attitudes become polarized. Topics covered include: the doomsday cult described in ‘When Prophecy Fails’; the MMR vaccine controversy and Andrew Wakefield; marriage; day care sex abuse hysteria and false memory syndrome, confabulation of autobiographical memory; George W. Bush and the Iraq War; Criminal interrogations, trials, and capital punishment; Mel Gibson; and Oprah Winfrey and her involvement in the James Frey controversy.


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