What is self-deception?


Self-deception is the process where individuals mislead themselves to believe something that is not true or is only partially true. This can manifest in several ways, as discussed on .

Key Points on Self-Deception:

  1. Narrative Formation: We often create narratives from the information we receive that serve our needs, even if they aren't fully accurate. This can be seen in contexts like mediums and psychic readings, where people allow general statements to fit their specific situations 1.

  2. Evolutionary Benefit: Self-deception may have evolutionary benefits. For instance, self-confidence (even if not entirely justified) can help individuals secure better social outcomes and avoid conflicts. This self-inflation can make others perceive us as more competent or formidable than we might actually be 2.

  3. Psychological Defense: By deceiving ourselves, we can protect ourselves from our own impulses or harsh realities. For example, believing that someone dislikes us without much evidence might protect us from engaging in potentially risky behavior 3.


    Derren and Jordan discuss the age-old human tendency towards self-deception and how it relates to mediums, psychics, and cold reading. They explore the idea that people often want to believe something and will take general information and let it fit the specifics.

    The Jordan Harbinger Show

    150: Derren Brown | Using the Power of Suggestion for Good
  4. Avoidance of Unpleasant Truths: Self-deception also allows people to avoid confronting uncomfortable truths or engaging with complex realities. This can manifest as ignoring significant issues to maintain a sense of comfort and normality 4.

Understanding self-deception involves recognizing these behaviors in ourselves and others and considering the potential adaptive advantages and drawbacks they present.