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Self-deception is a process of denying or rationalizing away the relevance, significance, or importance of opposing evidence and argument. Typically, self-deception is used to maintain false beliefs or delusions that one has an emotional attachment to. Self-deception can also include the defensive process of controlling and interrupting a discussion in order to try to prevent the opposing evidence and argument from even being presented.

Generally, the person engaged in self-deception is unaware that they are illogically defending their beliefs. It has been argued that humans are without exception highly susceptible to self-deception, as everyone has beliefs they are emotionally attached to. Some evolutionary biologists, such as Robert Trivers, have even suggested that, because deception is such an important part of human behaviour (and animal behaviour generally), an instinct for self-deception can give a person a selective advantage: if someone can believe their own lie, the theory goes, they will consequently be better able to persuade others of its 'truth'.

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