The basic premise is that the 'unknown' side is shown a comic, of something funny, and when the person laughs at it, they are then asked what they were laughing at. They answer, and often believe their answer.
I will openly confess that my science on this is, to say the least, wobbly, but it is 7am and I'm not going to wake the household on a Sat morning in search of proper references.
What I find more interesting, at the moment, is when I find myself lying to myself somewhat consciously in order to either improve a situation or to be happier. The example that got me thinking about this is when I am teaching a person who I do not find, ah, totally charming shall we say. I am
So, I lie to myself. I spend quite a bit of time quashing more negative thoughts, denying negative opinions and focusing on and emphasising the positive, sometimes to the point of silliness, to the point where I can here myself convincing myself that I like this person.
It never works completely if the person is truly disagreeable, at the end of the year when I stop working at it, it washes away quite quickly, but sometimes I do find that I end up actually liking the person more than I would have thought....
I find it is something that I do, and that I suspect many people do. We work at convincing ourselves, sometimes with outright lies, that things aren't what they seem. Fortunately, I tend to try to improve things, though there are certainly people, and I know some, who dedicate enormous amounts of time to deciding, and convincing themselves, that things are worse than they seem.
It is a useful tool, and one I find more interesting when I find myself doing this quite deliberately. (Sounds like there's about 3 of me there doesn't it. The poor vulnerable me being convinced, the conniving liar doing the dirty deed, and another me watching it all in bemusement) Then when I get thinking about it, I can come up with other times that this has come into play, apartments that were less than wonderful but moving isn't really such an option, courses that were less than wonderful, but which have to be finished. Colleagues who are a wee bit problematic, so to speak.....
I don't think I'm alone out here, but I do find it fascinating.