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Does putting your best self forward reveal your true self?

How does trying to make a positive impression on others impact the accuracy of impressions? In an experimental study, the impact of positive self-presentation on the accuracy of impressions was examined by randomly assigning targets to either “put their best face forward” or to a control condition with low self-presentation demands. First, self-presenters successfully elicited more positive impressions from others, being viewed as more normative and better liked than those less motivated to self-present. Importantly, self-presenters were also viewed with greater accuracy than control targets, being perceived more in line with their self-reported distinctive personality traits and their IQ test scores. Mediational analyses were consistent with the hypothesis that self-presenters were more engaging than controls, which in turn led these individuals to be viewed with greater distinctive self–other agreement. In sum, positive self-presentation facilitates more accurate impressions, indicating that putting one’s best self forward helps reveal one’s true self.

Source: “Your Best Self Helps Reveal Your True Self: Positive Self-Presentation Leads to More Accurate Personality Impressions” from Social Psychological and Personality Science

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About Eric Barker