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Carol Tavris

Carol Tavris

Dr. Carol Tavris's work as a writer, teacher, and lecturer has been devoted to educating the public about psychological science. Her recent book, "Mistakes Were Made (But Not by ME): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts" (Harcourt, 2007), was coauthored with Elliot Aronson and applies cognitive dissonance theory to a wide variety of topics, including politics, conflicts of interest, memory (everyday and "recovered"), the criminal justice system, police interrogation, the daycare sex-abuse epidemic, family quarrels, international conflicts, and business.

She has spoken to students, psychologists, mediators, lawyers, judges, physicians, business executives, and general audiences on, among other topics, self-justification; science and pseudoscience in psychology; gender and sexuality; critical thinking; and anger. For further information, please see:

In the legal arena, Dr. Tavris has given many addresses and workshops to attorneys and judges on the difference between testimony based on good psychological science and that based on pseudoscience and subjective clinical opinion.

Dr. Tavris is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 1, 8, and 35) as well as a Charter Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. Her honors and awards include the Distinguished Media Contribution Award from the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology (for The Mismeasure of Woman), the Heritage Publications Award from Division 35 of the American Psychological Association (for The Mismeasure of Woman), the “Movers and Shakers” Award from Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, the Distinguished Contribution to Women’s Health Award from the APA Conference on Women’s Health, and an award from the Center for Inquiry, Independent Investigations Group, for contributions to skepticism and science.

Primary Interests:

  • Aggression, Conflict, Peace
  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Gender Psychology
  • Law and Public Policy

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Journal Articles:

  • Shermer, Michael (February 9, 2011). "The Measure of a Woman: An interview with social scientist Carol Tavris". eSkeptic. ISSN 1556-5696. Retrieved February 12, 2011. originally published in The Skeptic v7 n1 1999.
  • Tiefer, L., Hall, M., & Tavris, C. (2002). Beyond dysfunction: A new view of women's sexual problems. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 28, 225-232.

Other Publications:

  • Tavris, C. (2010). Writing about psychological science. In M. H. Gonzales, C. Tavris, & J. Aronson (Eds.), The scientist and the humanist: A festschrift in honor of Elliot Aronson. New York: Psychology Press.
  • Tavris, C. (2006). The high cost of courage. In M. Garry & H. Hayne (Eds.), Do justice and let the sky fall: Elizabeth F. Loftus and her contributions to science, law, and academic freedom. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Tavris, C. (2003). The widening scientist-practitioner gap: A view from the bridge. In S. O. Lilienfeld, J. M. Lohr, & S. J. Lynn (Eds.), Science and pseudoscience in contemporary clinical psychology. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Tavris, C. (1999). The science and politics of gender research: The meanings of difference. In D. Bernstein (Ed.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, Vol. 45 (Gender & Motivation). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Tavris, C. (1993, January 3). Beware the incest-survivor machine [Essay on popular books on recovered memory]. New York Times Book Review, 1, 9ff.
  • Tavris, C. (1991). The mismeasure of woman: Paradoxes and perspectives in the study of gender. In J. Goodchilds (Ed.), Master Lecture Series, Psychological perspectives on human diversity in America. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Carol Tavris
Los Angeles, California 90046
United States

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