Deceptible Me

Deceptible Me

By Rose Eveleth

This episode we travel to a future where you can choose to turn off your ability to deceive yourself. Are you now a perfectly clear eyed genius? Or a perpetually depressed misanthrope? Maybe both? 


 This episode was suggested by my mom. It begins with two tales of self deception, one from Jacquelyn Gill, an assistant professor of paleo-ecology at the University of Maine and the host of a podcast about climate change called Warm Regards, and the other from Beth Duckles, a writer, researcher, ethnographer and social scientist. Then we talk to Zoë Chance, an assistant professor of marketing at the Yale School of Management and an expert on self-deception. After that, we go to therapy, and Chamin Ajjan, a clinical psychotherapist and author of Seeking Soulmate: Ditch the Dating Game and Find Real Connection explains what she does when she sees a case of self-deception in her office. And finally, Erik Vance, science journalist and author of Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal helps us understand what might really happen if we could truly turn off this ability to deceive ourselves. 


 Further reading:


 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Self Deception

 The Elements of a Scientific Theory of Self-Deception

 People don’t know when they’re lying to themselves

 Temporal view of the costs and benefits of self-deception

 The slow decay and quick revival of self-deception 

 DENIAL: Self-Deception, False Beliefs, and the Origins of the Human Mind 

 Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal

 Seeking Soulmate: Ditch the Dating Game and Find Real Connection


 Patrons are going to get a really fun bonus segment next week that didn’t quite make it into this episode. It’s about hypnosis. So if you want that, go to Patreon and sign up as a $5 donor! 

 Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Hussalonia. The voice from this episode’s future was provided by Cynthia Graber. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky. 

 If you want to suggest a future we should take on, send us a note on Twitter, Facebook or by email at We love hearing your ideas! And if you think you’ve spotted one of the little references I’ve hidden in the episode, email us there too. If you’re right, I’ll send you something cool. 

 And if you want to support the show, there are a few ways you can do that too! Head to for more about how to give. But if that’s not in the cards for you, you can head to iTunes and leave us a nice review or just tell your friends about us. Those things really do help. 

 That’s all for this future, come back next time and we’ll travel to a new one.

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