Tenured Professor Wows TEDx Audience With Job Resignation & Talk on Self-Deception

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Although getting tenured and then quitting is not the typical trajectory of a university professor, Cortney S. Warren, Ph.D., did just that during her TEDxUNLV talk, “Honest Liars: The Psychology of Self-Deception.” Using prominent psychological theories of human nature, Dr. Warren described how we lie to ourselves, the profound costs of our self-deception, and how to live a more fulfilling life by choosing to be honest with ourselves.

Cortney S. Warren, Ph.D.

Our lies reflect what we wish were true.

Cortney's TEDx Talk
Dr. Warren argues that humans are masters of self-deception. Taking topics from her new book, “Lies We Tell Ourselves: The Psychology of Self-Deception,” she suggests that we lie to ourselves about everything from why we didn’t list our actual height and weight on our driver's license to why we married who we did. Our self-deceptive tendencies often lead to massive amounts of pain and regret, over who we are and who we could have been. To help us live more fulfilling lives, Dr. Warren encourages us to “Choose Honesty” by becoming more aware of our self-deceptive nature and taking responsibility for our choices.

Cortney's Own Self-Deception
Dr. Warren used many personal examples to highlight how we deceive ourselves. In addition to highlighting how she struggled in romantic relationships, Dr. Warren stated that her own process of choosing honesty led her to quit a faculty position just two years after attaining tenure. Although it was an incredibly tough decision, Dr. Warren had a baby and realized that the academic, publish-or-perish environment took too much time away from her job as a parent. She resigned not only to spend more time with her family, but also to help people live more fulfilling lives by bringing psychological research and theory to the public.

Cortney's Background & Education
As the child of two college professors, Cortney was raised in an academic environment and travelled extensively as a child. After graduating magna cum laude from Macalester College majoring in psychology and Spanish, Cortney entered the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Texas A&M University funded by the American Psychological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program. After completing her pre-doctoral clinical internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Cortney joined the faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2006. In addition to having an expertise in psychotherapy, the majority of Dr. Warren’s research investigates how cultural factors influence eating behavior, body image, and addictions.

About TEDx, x = Independently Organized Event
TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events dedicated to ideas worth spreading. The events bring people together from diverse cultures to share ideas through speakers and videos in small groups, enhancing a spark of conversation and new ideas. Topics range from science and psychology to business and global issues.

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