Developing Our Psychological Immune System

Developing Our Psychological Immune System

Psychological Immune System
Gilbert and Wilson coined the term “psychological immune system” to encompass a number of biases and mechanisms that protect the subject from experiencing extreme negative emotions. This label draws on an analogy with the biological immune system. These processes affect how the subject processes, transforms or constructs information, making the existing state of affairs more bearable and the alternatives more appealing. The mechanisms of the psychological immune system act without conscious awareness, so people usually fail to anticipate its effects. This is one reason why people are poor at affective forecasting: they typically underestimate the extent to which these processes will shield them from a negative event.

The psychological immune system includes:
ego defense
rationalization
dissonance reduction
motivated reasoning
self-serving attribution
self-affirmation
self-deception
terror management
Fading affect bias: a bias in which the emotion associated with unpleasant memories fades more quickly than the emotion associated with positive events.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affective_forecasting#Psychological_immune_system

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