Self-deception and communication, a hypothesis

The hypothesis:

If we accept that humans have evolved to use self-deception in communication

Then self-deception must work within (and through) normal human communication limits

And if this is so, then there must be “smallest units” of self-deception that are accessible to observation and understanding

I propose that one of these “smallest units” is tone of voice and that the other is memory fabrication

Memory fabrication could also be called “reality fabrication,” “insistence on a single interpretation,” or “false assertion” or even “false confession.”

Though false confessions are common, as a society, we are puzzled by them and even have a legal system that puts great weight on them.

The link just given will provide background on this aspect of “reality fabrication.” A strong or clever person can often cause someone to falsely confess even to a serious crime.

A narcissist could probably be defined as someone who is especially susceptible to false assumptions about themself and others. (Themself is a good word, dating back to the 14th century.)

Tone of voice is a communication element that typically produces almost instantaneous reactions in listeners.

When the human capacity for “reality fabrication” meets tone of voice in the moment, self-deception frequently arises.

For example, I cut my finger and speak in frustration to you when I drop the band-aide you handed me. Then you react to my tone of voice.

Most of us most of the time will stop at this point and recognize that any emotions that have been generated are based on a transient problem and are best ignored.

Sometimes, though, a situation like this can lead to further emotional confusion during which one or both parties will begin to self-deceive concerning whose “fault” it is, what happened, why, etc.

I am certain you will be able to find many more example of these small units in your own life if you pay close attention to the moment a discordant tone of voice arises either in yourself or in your partner.

I believe these are some of the smallest units of self-deception. By paying attention to them we can watch ourselves begin a process of more complex self-deception.

Self-deception is an important part of human psychology, but we do not have to allow ourselves to be led around by it. Just as I can control through understanding my instinctual desires for excitement and sexual stimulation, I can also control through understanding and observation my instinctual tendency to self-deceive.

When FIML partners are both able to do this, they will gain great insight into how and why they are the way they are. It will also be much more fun to talk together.


Here is some more relevant information: The way you sound affects your mood.

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