Tendency to Rationalize Is No Big Deal, Student Tells Self

May 23, 2010 2:20 pm
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Tendency to Rationalize Is No Big Deal, Student Tells Self

Last Monday, Psych 1 got personal for freshman Carrie Messner. With each passing moment of Professor Gregory Walton’s lecture about rationalization as a defense mechanism, Messner grew more and more uneasy. “Professor Walton was describing exactly what I do all the time,” recalled Messner. “Like how I convince myself that eating a whole pint of ice cream is good for me, because it has 80 percent of my daily calcium. And that I don’t have a boyfriend because guys are just intimidated by how beautiful and smart I am.”

At first, Messner reacted with panic to the realization that she was a chronic rationalizer, but after a few minutes, she started to calm down. “Actually, when I think about it, I don’t rationalize all that often,” she thought to herself. “Besides, almost everybody I know does it, so it definitely can’t be that big of a deal.” By the time Professor Walton started talking about repression, Messner had forgotten the whole incident ever happened.

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