Essay on Carol Travis and Elliot Aronson's Book Review: Justifying our Actions

Essay on Carol Travis and Elliot Aronson's Book Review: Justifying our Actions

Length: 1152 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson have written a book that many people may find difficult to read. Why? Because it is like holding a mirror in front of one’s own face and looking into it. The book is about something most, if not all of us, have done: Justified our actions or words no matter how wrong they were. As Tavris and Aronson (2007) wrote in their book, “. . . most of us find it difficult, if not impossible to say, ‘I was wrong; I made a terrible mistake.’ The higher the stakes – emotional, financial, moral – the greater the difficulty.”
Why is it so difficult for us to admit that we’re wrong? Tavris and Aronson (2007) wrote that instead of backing down and apologizing, people have a tendency to continue to justify their actions even when irrefutable evidence is staring them in the face. They are guilty. They know they are guilty. They and everyone else can see the evidence that they are guilty. But they continue to justify their actions.
Tavris and Aronson (2007) used President George W. Bush as an example of this blind justification, citing all the ways that he was wrong about going to war in Iraq. But still, after years and years of bloodshed, lost American lives, huge financial debt, etc., Bush stated to a conservative columnist, “I’ve never been more convinced that the decisions I made are the right decisions.” And to be bi-partisan, they also included one of politics’ biggest lies told by Bill Clinton. “I never had sex with that woman . . . Monika Lewinski.”
Tavris and Aronson (2007) compared this self-justification to what so many of us have done in our private lives. Namely, remain in unhappy relationships because we’ve invested so much time trying to make it work; staying in a dead end job because we’re...


... middle of paper ...


...ly never thought he did anything wrong – I devoured this book and felt so much better for having read it. I would like to know if men are more inclined to Cognitive Dissonance and Self-Justification than women. In my experience and in listening to other women, that seems to be the case as far as admitting to making mistakes and apologizing for them. But then women, in my experience, seem to be the most adept at Self-Justification in their ability to stay with the wrong man for so long, always ready with a reason to justify her actions.
The examples of how politicians justify their words and actions were extremely interesting and will be invaluable to me as I deal with politicians in my work.



Works Cited

Tavris, C., & Aaronson, E. (2007). Mistakes were made (but not by me): Why we justify
foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts. New York: Harcourt

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Mistakes Were Made, but Not By Me, by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson Essay

- In Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson's book, "Mistakes were made, (but not by me)" Travis and Aronson explain why humans feel the need to justify themselves when they make a mistake of fail, and why a phenomena know as "Cognitive dissonance" according to the authors, "The engine of self-justification". In short, "Mistakes were made, (but not by me)" should be read by everyone because Tavris and Aronson prove their argument cogently, they have an effective writing style, and their ideas reflect issues from the wider world....   [tags: Cognitive Dissonance, Self-Justification]

Strong Essays
1467 words (4.2 pages)

Age of Propaganda: The Use and Abuse of Persuasion by Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson

- Today, we are bombarded by messages; not just text messages, or electronic messages, but marketing messages. With modern technological advances, advertisers are competing for the consumer’s attention. When we are crowded by these images, we no longer recognize them and fall into their carefully designed traps. This behavior leads to more extreme tactics deployed by the mass media to catch the attention of its demographic. Eventually, the companies are producing and promoting propaganda. This trend is pointed out in the non-fiction book, Age of Propaganda: The Use and Abuse of Persuasion by Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson....   [tags: behaviors, marketing messages]

Strong Essays
959 words (2.7 pages)

The Theory Of Cognitive Dissonance Essays

- Introduction Social Psychologists have discovered that most people believe that they are well behaved, more competent, above average, and better at things than others. But if this is to be true, what happens when we behave in ways that are inconsistent with the conception of ourselves. This is called the theory of cognitive dissonance. According to the textbook cognitive dissonance is “the discomfort that people feel when two cognitions (beliefs, attitudes) conflict, or when they behave in ways that are inconsistent with their conception of themselves (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, Sommers, 2013, pg.158)....   [tags: Cognitive dissonance, Cognition, Elliot Aronson]

Strong Essays
1949 words (5.6 pages)

Essay on A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickson

- The play “A Christmas Carol – A ghost story of Christmas” by Charles Dickson, directed by James Black in Houston, TX was performed in a similar way in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickson, directed by Michael Wilson in Washington, D.C. The both plays had similarities and differences throughout the play in which demonstrated different creativity from the different directors. The rating that was given by the reviewer of the play in Washington gave a 5 out of 5 star rating. For the play that I went to watch the rating I would give it would be a 5 star rating....   [tags: Christmas, Charles Dickens, Christmas carol]

Strong Essays
856 words (2.4 pages)

The Failings of Mr. And Mrs. Elliot Essay

- The Failings of Mr. And Mrs. Elliot      This cynical look at a less than ideal marriage keeps the reader at a distance. The opening sentence startles in its baldness "Mr. and Mrs. Elliot tried very hard to have a baby" and the second sentence destroys any illusions that the Elliots are enjoying this by stating that "They tried as often as Mrs. Elliot could stand it"(Hemingway 85).   The second paragraph uses one long, oddly convoluted sentence to describe their courtship and subsequent marriage....   [tags: Mr. and Mrs. Elliot Essays]

Strong Essays
916 words (2.6 pages)

Mothers Are Everywhere: Billy Elliot Essay example

- Dreams are what drive people; they create the world we are in. Sometimes it can take years before people realize what their dreams are. In the film Billy Elliot, directed by Stephen Daldry the audience gets to experience the road that Billy Elliot took takes order to achieve his goal. He may have had to take a different road before realizing his destiny; if it were not for the 1ballet coach, Mrs. Wilkinson, whom played a huge role in his path to discover his dream of becoming a ballet dancer. If it were not for Mrs....   [tags: character analysis and film review]

Free Essays
552 words (1.6 pages)

The Movie Billy Elliot Essay

- ‘Billy Elliot’ is a classic story, set in 1984 in Northern England. It is about a boy who discovers a passion for dancing. The film brings out a strong message of being true to yourself and overcoming conflict but ultimately it is also a story of persistence. The film techniques in ‘Billy Elliot’ enhance the audiences view on Billy’s story by using a variety of techniques such as sound, lighting, acting and editing. ‘Billy Elliot’ has a range of powerful scenes with different contrasting emotions....   [tags: film review and summary]

Strong Essays
778 words (2.2 pages)

A Christmas Carol - short review Essay

- A Christmas Carol - short review A Christmas Carol was published on 17th December 1843 in Victorian England. Victorian England was not a very nice place to live and Charles Dickens didn’t have the best childhood; his father was a clerk who was taken away from him and imprisoned when he was 12. Some people say this was how he became such a good writer – from all the problems he had as a child. England was a horrible place during these times – for example, there was child labour, where people got children to clean their chimneys as they were small enough, but it turned out the soot from the chimneys was carcinogenic, meaning it activated cancerous cells....   [tags: Free Essay Writer]

Free Essays
973 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Finding Contentment in Mr. and Mrs. Elliot

- Finding Contentment in Mr. and Mrs. Elliot        Ernest Hemingway's "Mr. and Mrs. Elliot" ultimately leaves us with a paradox. From its opening line, the story defines the marriage of Hubert and Cornelia as a marriage of failure: failure to conceive a child, failure to communicate, failure to have good sex. Indeed, the story's opening image seems the perfect metaphor for the marriage as a whole: "Mr. and Mrs. Elliot tried very hard to have a baby. They tried as often as Mrs. Elliot could stand it" (161)....   [tags: Mr. and Mrs. Elliot Essays]

Strong Essays
1510 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on Robert Elliot's Faking Nature

- Robert Elliot's "Faking Nature" ABSTRACT: Robert Elliot's "Faking Nature," (1) represents one of the strongest philosophical rejections of the ground of restoration ecology ever offered. Here, and in a succession of papers defending the original essay, Elliot argued that ecological restoration was akin to art forgery. Just as a copied art work could not reproduce the value of the original, restored nature could not reproduce the value of nature. I reject Elliot's art forgery analogy, and argue that his paper provides grounds for distinguishing between two forms of restoration that must be given separate normative consideration: (1) malicious restorations, those undertaken as a means of ju...   [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Faking Elliot Essays]

Strong Essays
3144 words (9 pages)