Strategies for coping with questionable decisions
Humans are masters of lying and self-deception. We want others to believe us good, fair, responsible and logical, and we yearn to see ourselves this way. Therefore, when our actions might appear selfish, prejudiced or perverted, we engage a host of strategies to justify our behavior with rational excuses: "I hired my son because he's better educated." "I promoted Ashley because she's more experienced than Aisha." In this article, we review previous studies examining how people restructure situations to view their behavior in a more positive light, and we present the results of our Playboy study. We conclude by briefly reviewing two additional strategies for coping with such difficult situations: forgoing choices, and forgetting decisions altogether.
A longer version of this paper can also be found here.