When it comes to evaluating our own abilities and prospects, most (non-depressed) people are subject to a distorting bias. We think that we are better - friendlier, more well-liked, better leaders, and better drivers - than we really are. Once we learn about this bias, we should ratchet down our self-evaluations to correct for it. But we don't. That leaves us with an uncomfortable tension in our beliefs: we knowingly allow our beliefs to differ from the ones that we think are supported by our evidence. We can mitigate the tension by waffling between two belief states: a reflective state that has been recalibrated to take into account our tendency to overrate ourselves, and a non-reflective state that has not.
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