On cooling the mark out
August 23, 2019 12:40 PM Subscribe
It is well known that persons protect themselves with all kinds of rationalizations when they have a buried image of themselves which the facts of their status do not support. [PDF] In this classic paper, Erving Goffman draws parallels between cooling the mark out -- providing fraud victims with "instruction in the philosophy of taking a loss" -- and other social situations in which one person is given the distasteful task of letting another down easy. It's the kind of structure you can see evidence for everywhere, from the sifting and winnowing of people in education to the techniques that psychics use to avoid scrutiny.
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