Self-deception in neurological syndromes

Israel Nachson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


One of the traditional views of self-deception has been in terms of a dynamically-driven defense mechanism which is employed in order to enhance self-esteem by denying contradictory evidence. Denial is evident during stressful events in everyday life, as well as in cases of mental and somatic impairments. A detailed analysis of a specific neurological syndrome, prosopagnosia, where covert recognition of familiar faces may coexist with lack of overt recognition, demonstrates the inapplicability of the dynamic interpretation of self-deception in terms of denial to some neurological syndromes, and the usefulness of a new conceptualization of this process in terms of dissociation between modular and central processes. It is proposed that self-deception be considered a complex process which may be conceived of as a defense mechanism in everyday life, and as a product of functional dissociation in neurological syndromes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-132
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Mind and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1999


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