I know this word, but my brain thinks otherwise.
October 19, 2010 10:32 AM   Subscribe

TipOfMyTongueFilter: What's the term (or terms) for the gap between intention (or perception) and action?

Like when people in surveys claim they love reading and/or read a lot, but their actual reading time, when tracked, works out at less than 2 a week. Or when, as in Stumbling on Happiness, parents claim to be highly fulfilled by childrearing as a whole, yet real-time mood monitoring reveals dissatisfaction with most childrearing activities. Or Romans 7:19: "For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing."

What's the word for when the mind thinks or wills one thing but the body does another? It's driving me bonkers.
posted by stuck on an island to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ugh, 2 hours a week.
posted by stuck on an island at 10:33 AM on October 19, 2010

Cognitive dissonance?
posted by julthumbscrew at 10:36 AM on October 19, 2010

posted by Crane Shot at 10:36 AM on October 19, 2010

Not hypocrisy, per se -- the point is that it's unconscious or unwilling.
posted by stuck on an island at 10:43 AM on October 19, 2010

The ancient Greek term is akrasia: weakness of the will.
posted by Beardman at 10:52 AM on October 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

(Though that is about intention only, not perception.)
posted by Beardman at 10:52 AM on October 19, 2010

Seconding 'Cognitive Dissonance', which is defined/described as "...the distressing mental state that people feel when they 'find themselves doing things that don't fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold.'" (Griffin quoting Festinger)
posted by carsonb at 11:01 AM on October 19, 2010

self-deception? maybe it's somewhere in the recent new yorker article on procrastination
posted by elephantsvanish at 11:20 AM on October 19, 2010

Not sure what the term is, but IMO Cognitive Dissonance doesn't quite fit. That term refers to the distress or tension associated with doing one thing and saying/reporting something else. That is, the Cognitive Dissonance refers to a "feeling", rather than the actual "gap". But then again, maybe that's what you're looking for. :)
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 2:07 PM on October 19, 2010

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