The distinguishing characteristic of preference falsification

  • It brings upon discomfort to the falsifier -- which makes them feel like they are living a lie temporarily, sometimes chronically.
  • It also has a stabilizing and constraining effect where it serves to filter out inclinations that people consider illicit and would rather not have.
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Preference Falsification

It is a universally pervasive phenomenon where we misrepresent publicly what we really think or believe or want privately due to fearing the possible consequences or to a benefit we may receive.

It can happen in settings like in the government, the academe, and even just between a group of friends.

Many studies were done to correlate conformity and social pressure with preference falsification and it turns out that:

People adapt to conform to the beliefs of other people because they lack the reliable information needed, and in the absence of trustworthy information, the only sensible reaction is to conform.

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People tend to conform to behaviors that are common among other people, even when they know that those people did not make their choices freely, and when the decision does not mirror their own desires. 

Conform to the social norm: why people follow what other people do

It's a cognitive bias that causes people to think or act in a certain manner because they believe that other people are doing the same.

For example, the bandwagon effect might cause someone to adopt a certain political ideology, simply because influential people in their social circle have adopted the same ideology.

The Bandwagon Effect: Why People Tend to Follow the Crowd

The Ironic Process Theory
  • It is the psychological process where a person tries to suppress certain thoughts but ironically ends up thinking about them instead.
  • It was first explored by Daniel Wegner in 1987.
  • Also known as the ironic rebound and the white bear problem. For example, when you try to suppress yourself from thinking of a white bear or a pink elephant, you're more likely to imagine one instead.

The Ironic Effects of Trying to Control Attention

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