An emerging trend in psychology is the reevaluation of the usefulness of accurate perception of self with regard to mental health . Several decades ago , realistic perceptions of self and the world were deemed as a prerequisite for the healthy functioning of psyche . However , modern theorists argue that positive evaluations of self and illusions of control are , in fact , beneficial for mental health and promote important aspects of healthy personality `including the ability to care about others , the ability to be happy or contented , and the ability to engage in productive and creative
work (Taylor Brown , 1988 ,
It has been experimentally proven that subjects who exhibited a greater degree of illusion of control would be less susceptible to immediate mood reaction following exposure to a stressor , discouragement after negative life events , and long-term depressive syndromes (Alloy Clements , 1992 . Self-deception , including illusions of control , has been also demonstrated to play a significant role in subjective well-being (Erez , Johnson Judge , 1995
Illusion of control is one example of a multiplicity of ways humans distort reality . One of the causes of such distortion is top-down perception . As Frith and Dolan (1997 ) note , `[p]erception arises through an interaction between sensory input and prior knowledge (p . 1221 . If perception is driven by prior knowledge rather than actual sensory input , the perception of reality becomes distorted this mechanism is the key to illusions of control
Illusions of control should be discriminated from defense mechanisms since `positive illusions are directly responsive to threatening circumstances , whereas defenses are conceptualized as inversely responsive to threatening information (Taylor Brown , 1994 ,
With regard to cognitive dissonance and illusions of control Harmon-Jones and Harmon-Jones (2002 ) argue that action-oriented mindset i .e . thinking about steps necessary to implement a decision , facilitates cognitive discrepancy reduction . At the same time , action-oriented mindset enhances positive illusions , including illusions of control even in the field not related to the decision
Alloy , L .B Clements , C .M (1992 . Illusion of control Invulnerability to negative affect and depressive symptoms after laboratory and natural stressors . Journal of Abnormal Psychology 101 (2 , 234-45
Erez , A , Johnson , D .E Judge , T .A (1995 . Self-deception as a mediator of the relationship between dispositions and subjective well-being . Personality and Individual Differences , 19 , 597-612
Frith , C Dolan , R .J (1997 . Brain mechanisms associated with top-down processes in perception . Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London : Biological Sciences , 352 , 1221-30
Harmon-Jones , E Harmon-Jones , C (2002 . Testing the Action-Based Model of Cognitive Dissonance : The Effect of Action Orientation on Postdecisional Attitudes . Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28 , 711-23
Taylor , S .E Brown , J .D (1988 . Illusion and well-being : A social psychological perspective on mental health . Psychological Bulletin 103 (2 , 193-210
Taylor , S .E Brown , J .D (1994 . Positive Illusions and Well-Being Revisited Separating Fact From Fiction . Psychological Bulletin , 116 (1 21-7...
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