Most of the content on this page is redacted excerpts from
In a nutshell
We have often a fundamentally distorted view of who we are. Our ego distorts facts, manufactures impressions and creates the best possible version of ourselves.
This is mechanism is inherently hidden from us. Read more about the reasons in
The ideal me distortion
Illusory superiority. The majority of people think they are above the average.
Cancer patients compare themselves to people who are worse off and that's why they felt they are better than an average cancer patient
"96 percent of the cancer patients in one study claimed to be in better health than the average cancer patient ... People with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer are particularly likely to compare themselves with those who are in worse shape, which explains why. And if we can’t find people who are doing more poorly than we are, we may go out and create them."
Most studies of this were done
More recent research investigating self-esteem in other countries suggests that illusory superiority depends on culture. Some studies indicate that East Asians tend to underestimate their own abilities in order to improve themselves and get along with others
We use Confirmation bias for filtering information connected to ourselves.
We skew information based on whatever is more beneficial for us to believe
"In one study, some volunteers were shown evidence indicating that extraverts receive higher salaries and more promotions than introverts do (successful-extravert group) and other volunteers were shown evidence indicating the opposite (successful-introvert group). When the volunteers were asked to recall specific behaviors from their pasts that would help determine whether they were extraverted or introverted, volunteers in the successful-extravert group tended to recall the time when they’d brazenly walked up to a complete stranger and introduced themselves, whereas volunteers in the successful-introvert group tended to recall the time when they saw someone they liked but had been too shy to say hello."
If somebody praises me – I will look for evidence of how competent the source is. If somebody criticizes me – I will look for evidence of how incompetent the source is.
"volunteers in one study were told that they’d scored poorly on an intelligence test and were then given an opportunity to peruse newspaper articles about IQ tests, they spent more time reading articles that questioned the validity of such tests than articles that sanctioned them. When volunteers in another study were given a glowing evaluation by a supervisor, they were more interested in reading background information that praised the supervisor’s competence and acumen than background information that impeached it."
If we can define the definition of the word talent we will define it exactly the way we wished—namely, in terms of some activity at which they just so happened to excel
“For example, why is it that you think of yourself as a talented person? (C’mon, give it up. You know you do.) To answer this question, researchers asked some volunteers (definers) to write down their definition of talented and then to estimate their talent using that definition as a guide. Next, some other volunteers (nondefiners) were given the definitions that the first group had written down and were asked to estimate their own talent using those definitions as a guide. Interestingly, the definers rated themselves as more talented than the nondefiners did. Because definers were given the liberty to define the word talented any way they wished, they defined it exactly the way they wished—namely, in terms of some activity at which they just so happened to excel. ("I think talent usually refers to exceptional artistic achievement like, for example, this painting I just finished,” or “Talent means an ability you’re born with, such as being much stronger than other people. Shall I put you down now?”).
We view things more positively once those things become our own.
"Consumers evaluate kitchen appliances more positively after they buy them, job seekers evaluate jobs more positively after they accept them, and high school students evaluate colleges more positively after they get into them. Racetrack gamblers evaluate their horses more positively when they are leaving the betting window than when they are approaching it, and voters evaluate their candidates more positively when they are exiting the voting booth than when they are entering it."
We find justifications for whatever we are already doing.
"For example, volunteers in one study were told that they would be eating a delicious but unhealthy ice cream sundae (ice cream eaters), and others were told that they would be eating a bitter but healthful plate of fresh kale (kale eaters).19 Before actually eating these foods, the researchers asked the volunteers to rate the similarity of a number of foods, including ice cream sundaes, kale, and Spam (which everyone considered both unpalatable and unhealthful). The results showed that ice cream eaters thought that Spam was more like kale than it was like ice cream. Why? Because for some odd reason, ice cream eaters were thinking about food in terms of its taste—and unlike kale and Spam, ice cream tastes delicious. On the other hand, kale eaters thought that Spam was more like ice cream than it was like kale. Why? Because for some odd reason, kale eaters were thinking about food in terms of its healthfulness—and unlike kale, ice cream and Spam are unhealthful."
"But if we were preparing to eat one of them, our brains would automatically exploit the ambiguity of that food’s identity and allow us to think of it in a way that pleased us (delicious dessert or nutritious veggie) rather than a way that did not (fattening dessert or bitter veggie). As soon as our potential experience becomes our actual experience—as soon as we have a stake in its goodness—our brains get busy looking for ways to think about the experience that will allow us to appreciate it. Because experiences are inherently ambiguous, finding a “positive view” of an experience is often as simple as finding the “below-you view” of a Necker cube, and research shows that most people do this well and often."
If it's done by me it's done better
Participants were asked to answer a series of simple reasoning problems. They were then asked to explain their responses and were given a chance to modify them if they identified mistakes. The majority were satisfied with their original choices; fewer than 15% changed their minds in step two.
In step three, participants were shown one of the same problems, along with their answer and the answer of another participant, who’d come to a different conclusion. Once again, they were given the chance to change their responses. But a trick had been played: the answers presented to them as someone else’s were actually their own, and vice versa. About half the participants realized what was going on. Among the other half, suddenly people became a lot more critical. Nearly 60% (really 30% of the whole group) percent now rejected the responses that they’d earlier been satisfied with.
Ego shield (psychological immune system)
There is also a psychological immune system at play to create more positive memories or impressions if we happen to be in a difficult situation. Why this may be?
“... reason evolved to perform, which is to prevent us from getting screwed by the other members of our group. Living in small bands of hunter-gatherers, our ancestors were primarily concerned with their social standing, and with making sure that they weren’t the ones risking their lives on the hunt while others loafed around in the cave. There was little advantage in reasoning clearly, while much was to be gained from winning arguments.” From
When experiences make us feel sufficiently unhappy our psychological immune system will kick in and it will shift blame or cook facts in order to create more positive memories
"When people are asked to predict how they’ll feel if they lose a job or a romantic partner if their candidate loses an important election or their team loses an important game, if they flub an interview, flunk an exam, or fail a contest, they consistently overestimate how awful they’ll feel and how long they’ll feel awful. Able-bodied people are willing to pay far more to avoid becoming disabled than disabled people are willing to pay to become able-bodied again because able-bodied people underestimate how happy disabled people are. As one group of researchers noted, “Chronically ill and disabled patients generally rate the value of their lives in a given health state more highly than do hypothetical patients [who are] imagining themselves to be in such states.” Indeed, healthy people imagine that eighty-three states of illness would be “worse than death,” and yet, people who are actually in those states rarely take their own lives."