02 March 2019

2nd March 1988 - Self Deception can help your Mental Health

On 2nd March 1988 — Shelley E. Taylor and Jonathon D. Brown's article Illusion and Well-Being: A Social Pschological Perspective on Mental Illness was published in Psychological Bulletin.

The study begins by saying that up to that point there had been a view that mental health depends on an accurate perception of reality. However in Taylor and Brown's summary of psychological studies they come to the conclusion that unrealistically positive self-perceptions are related to good mental health.

They first see evidence that most people see themselves as better than an objective external observer would view them. People accentuate their strengths and minimise their weaknesses. People also have the ability to distort reality to maintain their self-esteem, and keep a belief in their own abilities, including a hopeful view of the future and that motivates them.

Other who are low in self-esteem, or moderately depressed, are more accurate in their self perception.

In summary Taylor and Brown say These illusions appear to foster traditional criteria of mental health, including the ability to care about the self and others, the ability to be happy or contented, and the ability to engage in productive and creative work.

There is more on this topic in wikipedia in the article Positive illusions .

Thankyou to today in psychology history for the date.

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