Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)
|Author||Carol Tavris, Elliot Aronson|
|Cover artist||Jennifer Jackman|
|LC Class||BF337.C63 T38 2007|
Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) is a non-fiction book by social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, first published in 2007. It deals with cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias and other cognitive biases, using these psychological theories to illustrate how the perpetrators (and victims) of hurtful acts justify and rationalize their behavior. It describes a positive feedback loop of action and self-deception by which slight differences between people's attitudes become polarized.
Topics and people mentioned
- The doomsday cult described in When Prophecy Fails
- The MMR vaccine controversy and Andrew Wakefield
- Conflict escalation in marriage and intergroup relations
- Day care sex abuse hysteria, alien abduction memories, and false memory syndrome
- Statements by Al Campanis and Mel Gibson justifying racism
- Confabulation of autobiographical memory
- False certainty in pseudoscience
- Self-justification and conflict of interest in medicine and politics
- George W. Bush and the Iraq War
- Justification of aggression, war, and torture
- Criminal interrogation, the pseudoscientific Reid technique, and false confessions
- Trials, capital punishment, police perjury, and miscarriage of justice
- Oprah Winfrey and her involvement in the James Frey controversy
- Carol Dweck's research on mistakes and learning
Philosopher Daniele Procida described the book as an "immensely engaging and intelligent volume" and "a genuinely illuminating contribution to the study of human nature" but also criticised the book's informal style and sometimes outdated assumptions.
A review in O, The Oprah Magazine praised the book for "the scientific evidence it provides and the charm of its down-to-earth, commonsensical tone".
A review in The Guardian described the book as "excellent" and suggests the quotation, "If mistakes were made, memory helps us remember that they were made by someone else", should be printed on autobiographies and political memoirs as a warning to the public. The British comedian and novelist Alexei Sayle listed the book among his six favorites, recommending it as "endlessly fascinating if you're interested in politics."
- Procida, Daniele (2007). "Review- Mistakes were made (but not by me)" Metapsychology Online Reviews Volume 11, Issue 31
- Shermer, Michael. (May 2007) "Skeptic: Bush's Mistake and Kennedy's Error". Scientific American
- Prose, Francine (May 1, 2007). "The liars' club: a revelatory study of how lovers, lawyers, doctors, politicians--and all of us--pull the wool over our own eyes." O, The Oprah Magazine (Hearst Communications)
- Newnham, David (2008-05-24). "Review: Right all along: David Newnham on the dangers of relying on one's memory". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
- Sayle, Alexei (December 3, 2010). "My Six Best Books". The Express. p. 48.
- Carol Tavris' official site for the book
- "Why It's Hard to Admit to Being Wrong" Interview with Elliot Aronson on National Public Radio, broadcast July 20, 2007
- Point of Inquiry interview with Carol Tavris about the book (podcast) August 3, 2007