Thursday, October 2, 2008

Have you Ever Made a Fool of Yourself?

I like Ira Glass and Ira Glass likes Radiolab. You do the syllogism.

Except I really do like Radiolab. In fact, there was riveting show on the other week about self-deception. Self-deception -like zealotry- is one of those personality traits that both enthralls and disgusts me. We all self-deceive to an extent, but people who routinely self-deceive are some scary fucks.

It turns out they're also (at least according to recent research) happier and more successful than the rest of us. In one study, conducted by psychologist Joanna Starek, competitive swimmers who answered in the negative to more of the embarrassing questions on Harold Sackeim and Ruben Gur's 1970s-era Self-Deception Questionnaire swam better over the course of the season than swimmers of equal ability who admitted more. (I've always sort of suspected self-deceivers had an edge: in music, an unquenchable faith in your talent seems to count for almost as much as talent itself.)

Just for the heck of it, I downloaded the questionnaire. I'd put myself someplace on the yes side for 17 of the 20 questions, which is probably more about me than you wanted to know. Guess I'll be swimming in that slow lane.

No comments: