The Psychological Immune System By Leslie Bell And Daniel Gilbert

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The methods by which human beings rationalize their thinking can be explained through many theories and speculations. Two important theories about human thought are explained by Leslie Bell and Daniel Gilbert in their essays “Hard to Get: Twenty-Something women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom” and “Immune to Reality”, respectively. Bell applies the term splitting to explain how the women she spoke with are able to cope with the conflictions they feel over their sexual desires. Splitting is a tool used within psychoanalytic theory to describe a means of dualistic or binary thinking. Similarly, Gilbert coined the phrase psychological immune system to explain human self-rationalization behavior when someone suffers a severe setback. The psychological immune system is a method of protecting the mind from the harsh reality of some events. Both splitting and the psychological immune system approach the idea that human behavior is designed to protect the well being of the mind whether it is through simplification, detachment, or fabrication of the true circumstances.

The psychological immune system works by using specific tactics and strategies to help us transform and understand a seemingly horrible event into a positive one or one that we can understand. Gilbert explains that the psychological immune system is able to protect the mind by “unconsciously cooking the facts and then consciously consuming them” (Gilbert 132). This means that when presented with a

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