Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Understanding GenocideThe Social Psychology of the Holocaust$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Leonard S. Newman and Ralph Erber

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195133622

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195133622.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 18 October 2018

Perpetrators With a Clear Conscience

Perpetrators With a Clear Conscience

Lying Self-Deception and Belief Change

(p.285) 12 Perpetrators With a Clear Conscience
Understanding Genocide

Ralph Erber

Oxford University Press

This chapter attempts to add to the literature on the psychological mechanisms underlying perpetrator behavior by looking at the possibility that a specific form of self-deception may play an important role. Specifically, adopting lies and communicating them to others may enable perpetrators to carry out their evil tasks on a daily basis and may even enable them to live out the remainder of their lives with a clear conscience. The chapter examines what Hannah Arendt (1965) calls “lying self-deception”: the effects of telling lies repeatedly on subsequent belief change. The present analysis focuses heavily on how such processes may have operated on Adolf Eichmann, one of the main perpetrators of the Holocaust. In addition, the chapter offers speculations on how such an analysis may extend to other perpetrators, bystanders, and, to some extent, victims of genocide.

Keywords:   Adolf Eichmann, Holocaust, genocide, perpetrators, bystanders, victims, self-deception, lies, belief change

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .