Talk:Rationalization (psychology)

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I think the current revision [1] pays excessive attention to examples, especially the example of an apostate, and not enough attention to scholarly work on the general form of the mental process of rationalization. Examples should always be used to support the precise explanation, not to serve as one. ausa کui × 16:58, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Dispute regarding the renaming of "Rationalization (psychology)" as "Rationalization (fallacy)"[edit]

i feel uneasy about your renaming of Rationalization (psychology) to Rationalization (fallacy). You are choosing to put more emphasis on the fact that rationalization is a fallacy rather than it being an important psychological defense mechanism - yet it appears nowhere on the fallacy template Template:Informal Fallacy on the page. In fact the common everyday expression used for rationalization is "making excuses" not "rationalization" anyway so maybe the fallacy name should be "making excuses". I also cant see Rationalization listed in the fallacy articles.--Penbat (talk) 12:54, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

That rationalization is a logical fallacy is the fundamental understanding. There may be several theories on its nature including psychological theories. To say that rationalization is primarily a psychological phenomenon is a bit of a presumption. I wouldn't say it's POV exactly, however, to avoid that type of issue, it is best to house it within the most general field of study of the topic --logic. That there are psychological aspects of the topic should be in the article, however it is primarily a critical thinking topic.Greg Bard (talk) 19:04, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Rationalisation is one of the most important psychological defense mechanisms and has a pedigree going all the way back 100 years to Freud - it is a fundamental cornerstone of psychology. You must be kidding to suggest that the study of rationalisation as a fallacy is more important and fundamental than that. And when exactly was the first identification of rationalisation as a fallacy and by whom ? I still cant see it mentioned in any Wiki fallacy articles. In google "rationalization fallacy" gives 372 hits and "rationalization defense mechanism" gives 8,710 hits. Also in google "fallacy rationalization" gives 118 hits and "defense mechanism rationalization" gives 5,650 hits.--Penbat (talk) 20:16, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
I cannot speak to the popularity of webhits etcetera, only academic disciplines and subject matter, etc. However, in principle, a "rationalization" is always a fallacy and only sometimes a social phenomenon such as a "defense mechanism". You are correct about the content, in that I think it needs more development in its capacity as a fallacy... and so do the fallacy articles. I'm not kidding when I claim that it is more "fundamentally" a fallacy. It should be no surprise too, because philosophy and logic are like that. The idea is to identify the fundamentals. When you are talking about a defense mechanism, that brings along with it a lot of assumptions (two people in conflict, psychological theory, etcetera). Whe you say a rationalization is a fallacy, that's strictly ontological categorization. That is as fundamental as it gets. Be well, Greg Bard (talk) 23:16, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
The fact that it is a fallacy is "baked into" its definition as a defense mechanism: "Rationalization - Where a person convinces him or herself that no wrong was done and that all is or was all right through faulty and false reasoning. An indicator of this defence mechanism can be seen socially as the formulation of convenient excuses - "making excuses"." I think your arguments are baloney and it was highly presumptuous of you to rename this article without any prior discussion.--Penbat (talk) 17:37, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Psychology and Logic, one might argue, are two sides of the same coin. Just saying that is one way to look at it. It is difficult to favor one over the other. However, by wikipedia policy, Greg, you have not met the burden of proof as of yet. There are currently no sources pointing to the term being used in the context of fallacies. And even if there are, scholarly search methods such as Scirus will turn up far more sources for the defense mechanism than the fallacy by a ratio of 3 to 1.Legitimus (talk) 02:33, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
I would suggest Rationalization (behaviour). /Yvwv (talk) 22:03, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

I would suggest Rationalisation because that is how the word is spelt..... (talk) 00:14, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Current Rationalization Example[edit]

I believe that the current example of the smoker using his parents as examples of how smoking is not unhealthy is (or may be) contradictory to the definition of rationalization in the article. The article says that a rationalization is something used to defend an action "that was originally arrived at through a different mental process". However, there is no specific evidence in the example given that the smoker was once worried that smoking was unhealthy but did it anyway, or anything along those lines. It may be that he actually did begin smoking with this justification in mind. Even if it is a fallacious argument, that does not mean that it was not either his original mental process or part of the process. --Mr Bucket (talk) 16:34, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

I think i agree with you but strangely the cited source for this example sounds authoritative.--Penbat (talk) 16:48, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
OK. From my perspective it is quite believable that psychology, like any method of attempting to generalize particularities, has some contradictory ideas. That does not somehow "invalidate" rationalization as a concept, nor mean that it should be defined in a way that eliminates the contradictions. So I don't think any kind of edit is needed.--Mr Bucket (talk) 07:20, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
IMHO the everyday expression "making excuses" sums up rationalisation prety well and a more technical explanation will be lost on many people anyway. --Penbat (talk) 11:10, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't feel that it does sum it up because making excuses is conscious while rationalization is not. People have no idea they are rationalizing a decision that they made for some other reason. E.g. Someone steals from a supermarket and they tell themselves it's okay because the supermarket is owned by a big faceless company. They have done something which is in direct conflict with their own morals but they make a rationalization to tell themselves that it wasn't. The brain has the following problem to solve: "Good people don't steal. I am a good person. I stole." It has to resolve this conflict in some way. It does this unconsciously by changing something. It can either say "Good people steal", "I am not a good person" or "I didn't steal". It always chooses the easiest option. In this case it chooses something like "I didn't really steal". The person is completely unaware of why they made this decision, they honestly believe that the supermarket is evil. People also do this if they steal from or hurt another person, they imagine that that person wanted to steal from them or hurt them in order to justify it, again it's completely unconscious, they don't say "I'm going to tell myself this person would have done the same to me because that way I won't have to feel bad"

If you make an excuse you say "I'm going to say this so people will forgive me for what I did". It's conscious in my opinion.

There is no way that someone can smoke without knowing that it is unhealthy. I think it is a very good example. When you start smoking you know. Even if you started in the 20s, you know by now. Yet you keep smoking? Why is this? Many people rationalize it without realizing that they are actually being irrational just because it's easier. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:45, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Distorted Meaning[edit]

The entire article has a completly distored meaning of what rationalisation is. An unsound assumption is a completly seperate concept to what it means to rationalise (make rational); which is the process of using deduction on a set of premises to come to a logical conclusion. The phenomina the article seems to be trying to discribe is called confirmation bias. (talk) 04:12, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Confirmation Bias doesn't seem to be exactly the same. It seems to be when you make a decision based on previously held beliefs without realizing that you haven't considered it properly, it doesn't specifically refer to the ideas you make up in your head to explain why you made that decision. E.g. I want to think that gun control should be lax because I have a gun and I like having a gun (Confirmation bias). I tell myself that everyone should be able to have a gun because of the constitution (Rationalization). I never actually realize that if I didn't like having a gun or I was indifferent to guns I might have a different interpretation of the constitution.

I do wish when people came up with new concepts they made sure to give them names that didn't already attach to other concepts. I mean English has over a million words, they could go into the complete Oxford dictionary and find an alternative word for "sour grape" and use that instead. (For example). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:35, 1 September 2012 (UTC)


isn't an rationalization simply and explanation to something? what makes and explanation a rationalization or not? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:05, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Hi! A rationalization is not really true. For instance, when I didn't get the job I had applied for, I say: "Well, I didn't want it anyway." Because I don't want to admit that I am dissappointed. (However, if I say: "Someone else was better than me" - that is not a rationalization but just an explanation.) Lova Falk talk 19:44, 22 February 2013 (UTC)


I'm not an expert in this field--which is exactly why i was looking it up. I got to the "DSM," and although i have read about the controversy over the new edition, not being in the field, the abbreviation still stumped me. Also, since there was no change in color or underline, it didn't occur to me to hover over the abbreviation to get the full name. It wasn't until i logged in and was going to do the edit myself that i saw it was there as a mouse-over. It is well-advised that this be edited to include the info "The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association" in a traditional manner before using the abbreviation. However, i'm not a wiki expert either, and maybe that is a recent change.

Unless there is a global edict to remove the initial reference for the reader, it would really help those of us not in the field to comprehend the info faster and easier. I could go in and put it in myself--a LOT quicker than it took to write this up--but i respect that those of you who know the field may prefer to address it your own way. that is why i am posting here. hopefully, someone will just make the change or explain the rationale for not including it in plain sight. thanks :) Number.6.freeman (talk) 21:34, 20 August 2013 (UTC


Can't understand the last sentence of the intro. Jacobisq (talk) 09:46, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 8 June 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved per request. Favonian (talk) 16:08, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

Rationalization (making excuses)Rationalization (psychology) – I would've done this myself, but the page has been moved around a bit in the past. I view the current title as unacceptable: disambiguators aren't supposed to be synonyms, such as the long-since deprecated Football (soccer). The proposed title adequately disambiguates the topic from others called Rationalization with a concise, standard disambiguator. --BDD (talk) 20:25, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

  • Support. "Making excuses" is simply too complicated a term. JIP | Talk 21:44, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support as per comparative contents at Rationalization. GregKaye 07:01, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support, reasonable. --Cavarrone 08:55, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Rreagan007 (talk) 01:13, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.