Archive for August 21st, 2012

August 21, 2012

Positive Illusions

Illusory superiority

Positive illusions are unrealistically favorable attitudes that people have towards themselves. Positive illusions are a form of self-deception or self-enhancement that feel good, maintain self-esteem or stave off discomfort at least in the short term.

There are three broad kinds: inflated assessment of one’s own abilities (illusory┬ásuperiority), unrealistic optimism about the future (optimism bias), and an illusion of control. The term ‘positive illusions’ originates in a 1988 paper. There are controversies about the extent to which people reliably demonstrate positive illusions, and also about whether these illusions are beneficial to the people who have them.

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