Greenwald, A. G., The totalitarian ego: Fabrication and revision of personal history. American Psychologist, 1980, 35, 603-618.

Ego is the organization of knowledge, and serves the function of observing and recording personal experience. The ego fabricates and revises history via cognitive biases described below:

1. Egocentricity (self percieves itself as more central to events than it is).
"The past is remembered as if it were a drama inwhich self is the leading player". Also, the ego assumes an "illusion of control" where other people do things presumably in response the ego's actions. The ego often assumes it has control over things that are actually determined by chance. Individuals usually attribute more responsibility for a group project than other's attribute to them.

2. Beneffectance
People usually accept credit for good acts and do not take credit for bad acts. Students who do well on a test see it as fair, those who do poorly see it as unfair. This effect has disastrous consequences in gambling. People remember successes better than failures. People take more credit for group work than is actual. People identify with the University stronger after a football victory than after a loss (we won vs they lost).

3. Conservatism
People selectively recieve information that confirms judgements already arrived at (both factual and opinion knowledge). Scientists have a predisposition to confirm existing theories. They disregard research results inconsistent with their theoretical hypotheses.

People tend to be overconfident in assessing their memories of an event. They also reject new information that doesn't conform to their prior opinions, but accept messages that do conform. They also create new arguments from memory to justify the rejection of new material.

There is also an order effect (people accept the first information and reject the second opposite info).

Rewriting Memory
People often recall an attitude of a memory first and then remember the facts to justify the recalled attitude. People overestimate their prior knowledge of correct answers. One also distort the memory of an event by leading questions or by writing counter-attitudinal essays. As Orwell states the "secret of rulership is to combine a belief in one's own infallibility with the power to learn from past mistakes".

People also fail to perceive change when change occurs due to the biased selectivity to conform to previous opionions or cognitive framework. We expect to improve on subsequent performances, and seek out those who give such evaluations of improvement. Most believe the present if better than the past and the future is better still.

Knowledge organization in totalitarian society
The ego's organization of knowledge can be compared to a totalitarian regime. In totalitarian societies the past is rewritten to elimiante the weakness of fallibility.

The model of the scientific paradigm is also useful. The successful paradigm credits itself with confiming but not disconfirming experiments to preserve theoretical integrity.

When the self is more involved in a situation, there is better memory. Beneffectance is enhanced when the outcomes are personally important. People resist persuasion when the topic is more important to them (ego-involvement is high). There is high ego-involvement in situations of cognitive dissonance.

One can explain causal efficay to motivational and informational forces. Motiviations explanations include:
* need for cognitive consistency
* self-esteem
* belief in a just world
* effective control
* subjective competence
* social approval

Information explanations are:
* perceived covariation
* correspondent inference
* focus of attention
* perception of contingency
* selective transmission of favorable information

Genetic Evoluationary view of cognitive biases
Perhaps cognitive systems with biases may survive better than those ;without biases. An intrapsychic cognition survives by first being recognized. These biases may serve to help protect the organization of knowledge. Coding memories as they regard the self can help retrieval and consistency.