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Dudley Dowell
cognitive dissonance
delusion
fantasy
Wed, Dec 31, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Are people happier living in a fantasy? For example, what if I believe that today that a fairy godmother will appear at my door with a cheque for one million euro?


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Bo Bennett, PhD
Host, Doctor of Social Psychology

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Host, Doctor of Social Psychology

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About Bo Bennett, PhD

I am the host of this show :) For my complete bio, please see http://www.bobennett.com.
PrintWed, Dec 31, 2014 - 12:00 AM
Your fairy godmother example is interesting and can demonstrate how delusions can be destructive. Since, by definition, delusions do not represent reality, as time goes by and the check for one million euro presented by your mythical creature fails to show up, cognitive dissonance ultimately sets in. You can create another delusion to explain away the contradiction (e.g., the fairy godmother is ill, and needs time to recover) or accept reality. Ultimately, the delusions can lead to a series of disappointments, all of which lower one's collective well-being. Contrast this with accepting that no godmother will bring you a check (or the European version–"cheque") and accepting the challenge of earning the money yourself. The latter can be extremely motivating and a positive experience, assuming realistic expectations are set. Bottom line, I believe the proper attitude based on reality can be far more positive than any delusion. But that is just me :)
Bo Bennett, PhD
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