This module is a resource for lecturers  


Core reading


This section provides a list of (mostly) open access materials that the lecturer could ask the students to read before taking a class based on this Module. These readings could potentially form the basis for a longer course on the subject.

  • Tavris, Caroll and Elliot Aronson (2015). Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  » This book explains key moral failings by appealing to cognitive dissonance and the confirmation bias. It is suggested to focus attention on Chapters 1 & 2. If this book is not available then an alternative reading is the article by Epley and Gilovich listed below. For a lecture by Tavris to complement the readings click here. Additionally, Julia Galef provides a lecture on the topic of motivated reasoning (reasoning informed by the confirmation bias) here.
  • Epley, Nicholas and Thomas Gilovich (2016). "The Mechanics of Motivated Reasoning." Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 30, no 3, pp. 133-140. This can be an alternative reading in case the book by Tavris and Aronson is not available.
  • Ariely, Dan (2012). The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone - Especially Ourselves. London: HarperCollins Publishers.  » This book explores the how and why of dishonesty. It appeals to the result of psychological experiments to build the account. It is suggested to focus on Chapters 1, 2 (not 2B) & 10. If unable to get this book, click here for an alternative reading. The documentary (Dis)honesty: The Truth About Lies complements the reading material.
  • Rorty, Amélie Oksenberg (2001). How to harden your heart: six easy ways to become corrupt. The Many Faces of Evil: Historical Perspectives. Amélie Oksenberg Rorty, ed. London: Routledge.  » This piece shows how basic psychological mechanisms that lead people to commit bereft acts operate to make us do things that go against our better judgment. A slightly different take on Rorty's concerns can be found in the open access paper Corruption in the Context of Moral Tradeoffs, authored by James Dungan, Adam Waytz and Liane Young, which can be accessed here.


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