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Self Control in Society, Mind, and Brain$
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Ran Hassin, Kevin Ochsner, and Yaacov Trope

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391381.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 October 2019

Working Hard or Hardly Working for those Rose-colored Glasses?: Behavioral and Neural Evidence for the Automatic Nature of Unrealistically Positive Self-Perceptions

Working Hard or Hardly Working for those Rose-colored Glasses?: Behavioral and Neural Evidence for the Automatic Nature of Unrealistically Positive Self-Perceptions

Chapter:
(p.38) CHAPTER 3 Working Hard or Hardly Working for those Rose-colored Glasses?: Behavioral and Neural Evidence for the Automatic Nature of Unrealistically Positive Self-Perceptions
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Self Control in Society, Mind, and Brain
Author(s):

Jennifer S. Beer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391381.003.0003

Even rose-colored glasses cannot hide the apparent discrepancy between models of self-control and the adaptive view of positive illusions. Most models of self-control suggest that accurate perceptions of the relation between behavior and goals are fundamental for goal attainment. However, the adaptive view of positive illusions suggests that individuals with unrealistically positive self-perceptions are more successful at achieving goals such as satisfying personal relationships, well-being, and professional accomplishment. If people fool themselves into thinking that their behavior is consistent with their goals (e.g., “Sleeping through class will help me get a good grade because I will be well-rested on the day of the exam”) or fail to acknowledge conflict between goals (e.g., “Eating peanut butter cups is delicious and healthy because peanut butter has protein”), then how can they execute the self-control needed to adjust behavior or resolve goal conflicts? This chapter integrates these perspectives by examining the evidence for the adaptive view of positive illusions and mechanisms that underlie unrealistically positive self-perceptions. The extant research suggests that positive illusions may be advantageous for goal attainment in the short-term, particularly mood regulation, but do not promote successful self-control across time. The failure of positive illusions to promote successful self-control in a sustained manner may be explained by the shallow information processing that supports many unrealistically positive self-views. In other words, positive illusions may often reflect cognitive shortcuts that need to be corrected to serve the monitoring function described in models of self-control. The adaptive benefit of positive illusions for mood regulation suggests that this relation occurs in situations in which mood regulation is a priority or it is not too costly to sacrifice other goals at its expense.

Keywords:   anterior cingulate, bias, brain, frontal lobe, fMRI, orbitofrontal cortex, overconfidence, positive illusions, self, self-control, self-enhancement, social cognition

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