Also at the You Are Not So Smart blog is an article on the introspection delusion. That's the delusion that you always know why you feel how you do or act how you do, when often you don't. And that, when asked about feelings or actions you've taken, you will actually make up a story to explain your feelings and behavior that you may actually believe, but is total bullshit.
This one is interesting to me because I have known for a long time that I often don't know why I did something or why I felt a certain way. I've even said, in conversation, "Well, I think that's why I did it. I'm not sure, I could just be making it up." And I've caught myself making up stories about why I did things, too. Often, when I've taken action X, and someone says, "Why didn't you just do Y," I will find myself coming up with a reason, on the spot, why I didn't do Y. It'll be something that is logical and makes sense but is just a story. Because the real reason is that I just didn't think to do Y, but for some reason I never want to admit that. I don't know why.
It's not like I think, "Oh, crap, I didn't think of that. I better make something up!" Instead, I immediately think of the story and start telling it without ever really even considering just admitting I didn't think of action Y. In fact, on a few occasions I have even told the story, then immediately afterwards thought to myself, "What the hell did I say that for? Why didn't I just say I didn't think of it?" and then said, "Wait, that's wrong, what I just told you. I don't know why I said that. In fact, I just didn't think to do Y." But it's hit or miss whether I actually admit that or not. And it's also hit or miss how quickly I realize I've just made up a story. Sometimes I make up the story and later realize that the story wasn't true.
But I have no earthly clue why I do that. Why, somewhere inside my mind, I think rationalizing a reason for why I didn't do something is better than admitting I just didn't think to do it.
But I've long known that the causes of many of my actions and emotional states are opaque to me. Which is very frustrating, especially when I've done something stupid or when my emotional state is causing me to think or do stupid things. And, because many people are unaware of the introspection delusion and think they always know the reason for their actions and feelings, I have often had people accuse me of being "difficult" or "too complicated" when I admit to being unable to explain my actions or feelings. Since they think they always know why they think and feel the way they do, everyone does, and so if you don't, you are weird or there's something wrong with. People get frustrated when you can't explain yourself if they think they always can.
Conversely, I have sometimes caught myself making up a story for my actions -- to myself -- when I actually do know, but don't like, the actual reasons. Not just rationalizing, but just wholesale coming up with a whole other explanation that is more palatable. I'm not sure if this ever works, if I managed to convince myself of the story instead of the actual explanation, because I don't think I could know if it did. But I suspect I must have been successful in the past or I wouldn't keep catching myself doing it. If I have been successful, then I have actually managed to induce the introspection delusion in myself.
Anyway, it's interesting how the mind works. One of the funny things I have noticed in the comments at the You Are Not So Smart blog is that a lot of people post to say that they don't fall for whatever delusion the post is on, despite the fact that part of the whole point of self-delusions is that you often aren't aware of them! And a lot of times people demonstrate the delusion in their defense of themselves as not having fallen for the delusion. It's a fascinating feedback loop going on there.