ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2012, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (9): 1265-1278.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2012.01265

• 论文 • 上一篇    



  1. 香港理工大学应用社会科学系, 香港
  • 收稿日期:2011-09-22 发布日期:2012-09-28 出版日期:2012-09-28
  • 通讯作者: 陆慧菁

Self-Deception: Deceiving Yourself to Better Deceive Others

LU Hui-Jing   

  1. Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
  • Received:2011-09-22 Online:2012-09-28 Published:2012-09-28
  • Contact: LU Hui-Jing

摘要: 心理学的研究几乎都把自欺看作一种个体特质, 主要探讨自欺对个体自身的作用。而在进化的理论框架中, 自欺是一种人际交往的策略, 目的是为了更好地欺骗其他个体。由于直接欺骗有可能被对方识破, 个体把自己欺骗之后就可以“诚实地”向对方传递错误信息而不被察觉。这就把自欺定义为人际间而非个体内的概念。本文系统地阐述人际间自欺的概念和思路, 并为之在心理学的研究中提出一套理论假设和研究方法。在理论上, 由于难以区别通过自欺的欺骗和直接的欺骗, 本文提出一系列假设和条件来证明自欺的存在, 这些条件包括欺骗双方的地位高低、道德高低、和人数多寡。因为自欺是用来应付高欺骗探测压力的, 上述条件可以反映被骗对象的欺骗探测能力的高低。在方法上, 本文提出采用两次回忆的方式来展现自欺, 第一次回忆时欺骗动机存在, 个体在诚实的状态下提供较少真实信息, 第二次回忆时欺骗动机消失, 个体可以提供较多真实信息, 通过比较两次回忆内容的差异来验证自欺的存在。这一操作方法突破了个体间自欺因缺乏操作定义而无法进行心理学研究的屏障, 为人们探讨人际间自欺提供了一条可行途径。

关键词: 自我欺骗, 欺骗, 进化心理学

Abstract: Existing research has approached self-deception mainly as an intrapersonal process representing personality traits, motivational biases in information processing, and inconsistencies between explicit and implicit self-systems. Using an evolutionary approach, we treat self-deception as an interpersonal process whereby individuals deceive themselves to better deceive others. This approach advances two new theoretical developments in the understanding of self-deception. We propose that the probabilities of deception detection should affect the likelihood and activation of self-deception, and that a dual-retrieval memory system can be used to operationalize inter-personal self-deception. We first review the existing literature by highlighting three characteristics. First, self-deceptive individuals show contradictory responses between self-report and physiological or behavioral reaction, and these inconsistencies are motivated by the desire to maintain high self-esteem. Second, self-deception is driven by self-enhancing motivations in information processing that includes perceiving, evaluating, and retrieving information. Third, self-deception is also viewed as a personality attribute, representing individual differences in viewing oneself in an overly positive light. These studies also examine affective effects of self-deception and the correlations among emotion, cognition, motivation, and decision-making behaviors. We then present our evolutionary explanation of self-deception which we believe advances the development of this psychological construction and research both theoretically and methodologically. Theoretically, as proposed by the evolutionary biologist, Robert Trivers, self-deception is the result of the “arms race” between deception and deception detection. Because deception is prevalent in all animals including human beings, deception detection has evolved to prevent oneself from being deceived. Cues such as signs of nervousness may be leaked through changes in facial and eye muscle contraction, voice volume and pitch, and other observable physiological and bodily changes. The evolutionary adaptation to avoid these physiological cues of detection is self-deception that leaks out no cues for detection because the individual is unaware of the ongoing deception. Methodologically, we propose a way to test the evolutionary hypothesis about self-deception. Because self-deception evolves to better escape detection, it must respond to social conditions that register the probabilities of deception detection so that individuals should self-deceive when they sense high rather than low probabilities of detection. Social status, moral standing, and the mere number of the deceived, relative to that of the deceiver, represent the detection-registering conditions that should affect the likelihood and activation of self-deception. We also propose a dual-retrieval memory procedure to operationalize self-deception. In the first retrieval that takes place in front of the deceived, the deceiver fails to retrieve encoded information due to the motivation to deceive and to escape detection. In the second retrieval after successful deception has been achieved, the deceiver retrieves the true or full information to achieve fitness gains. The difference between the two retrievals in the self-serving direction proves self-deception.

Key words: self-deception, deception, evolutionary psychology