Wait no longer, friends. Over on the Psychology Today blog The Natural Unconscious, John Bargh, who teaches psychology and cognitive science at Yale, dissects Kanye's explanation for the break-in, which, when he was on Jay Leno, he attributed not to his own actions but to the pain caused by his mother's death. (Which happened in 2007, but let that go for the moment.) The problem, as Bargh sees it, starts with the question of free will and causality, and that's where our own Dan Wegner's The Illusion of Conscious Will comes in. Dan argued in that book that we do not have access to our own information about our causal influence on the world. That is, as Bargh puts it, "we can't use just our feelings of having caused our behavior as some kind of prima facie evidence that we did indeed cause it."
Thus, Bargh continues:
[West] did not take personal responsibility for what he had done, but instead apologized that "his own pain caused someone else's pain". He was saying, in other words, that he did not intend his behavior, he did not freely choose it, but instead it was caused by the understandable pain he still felt over the loss of his mother.
Now, Mr West has been roundly criticized in the media for not taking personal responsibility for his own actions and trying to focus the public's attention on his own suffering and not the embarrassment and humiliation he caused Ms Swift. But we should realize that his sudden, and quite convenient abandonment of his own presumed belief in free will, is something we all tend to do, although usually not on the Jay Leno show in front of 30 million viewers.
Once again, scholarship rides to the rescue of pop culture. Read the whole thing here.