Denial is Your Friend

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dan Ariely, professor of behavioral economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, and Eviatar Zerubavel, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, talk about the uses of denial in relationships.


Dan Ariely and Eviatar Zerubavel

Comments [8]

sonia from hartsdale, ny

i held on my cell for about 20 minutes waiting to make my comment, but for the third time, i lost out to several people from manhattan (take no offense, manhattanites--i was 1 for 24 yrs), which seems to be an npr pattern.

in my early career as an msw, i worked at an abortion facility. besides counseling the patients, we held "s.o." groups (significant others) for anyone acompanying the patients, who were often teens from states outside of ny, which could include parents, grandparents, aunts, boyfriends/husbands, friends.

during the first few weeks i could hardly believe the consistent remarks from parents (usually mothers) when asked to discuss the person theywere with & the circumstances under which they came to our clinic. day after day, describing how they did not know their teenage daughters were 4-6 months pregnant while living in the same household, i heard tjings like: "well, she was gaining weight...she was vomiting...she wasn't using her sanitary napkins...she slept a lot & was always yawning...she was moody..."

i believe there is no stronger denial than that of parents, whether it's sexual activity, drugs, falling grades, etc. these parents witnessed every possible symptom of pregnancy inm their daughters, & barely knew they were even holding hands, let along being sexually active.

i was interested in what the guests thought about denial on the part of parents, but it looks like i won't be getting their feedback.

Nov. 27 2007 10:59 PM
Mike from Garrison

The guests haven't really addressed the question of the mechanism of denial. The individual's circumstances (that is the context in which they live), the focus of their attention and their life goals are important. Also, there seems to be a judgment as to 'good' and 'bad' denial. The implication is that we hide things from ouselves, rather than simply paying attention to one thing rather than another depending on a variety of factors.

Nov. 21 2007 11:39 AM
anna from comment

3rd sentence should be
.... although I don't know any foreign ...

Nov. 21 2007 11:38 AM
wB from NYC

Wish we had Tug McGraw on the Mets this year so that he could deny the obstacles that defeat us with "you,ve got to be;lieve" slogan.

Nov. 21 2007 11:38 AM
anna from comment

I have heard only a short fragment, so could have missed.
It's a denial to pretend that people who don't have health insurance don't die because of that
It's a denial to pretend that whose who were fired with my collaboration are not victims and I am not a scoundrel.
It's a denial to believe that, although I don't no any foreign language, any other culture etc., I, the illiterate, can judge others.
It's a denial to believe that the culture of constant lying, cheating, robbing etc. while smiling is beneficial.
Just a fragment.

tcan't t' st eive

Nov. 21 2007 11:36 AM
Veronica from Manhattan

Denial is one of the biggest problems on the planet.

Nov. 21 2007 11:14 AM
tony from nyc

I an NOT in denial!

Nov. 21 2007 11:11 AM
Paul from Brooklyn

I've heard that there is a release of endorphins when we deny something in our own mind. This release helps us accept our denial by backing it up with a good feeling. A feeling of certainty, and therefor security. The apparent evolutionary reason for this mechanism is to protect our minds from psychologically devastating observations. Examples; (A) Denial of the lack of proof of God. (B) Denial of the true nature of the 9/11 attacks.

Nov. 21 2007 11:04 AM

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