Attentional biases and memory distortions in self-enhancers

Maja Djikic, Jordan B. Peterson, Philip David Zelazo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


One hundred and fifteen undergraduate students (88 women and 27 men, mean age=19.9 years) from a large urban university participated in this study for course credit. Individuals with moralistic and egoistic biases in self-perception (Paulhus & John, 1998) were tested for attentional biases and memory distortions following bogus personality feedback. Individuals with a moralistic bias (those scoring high on the Impression Management (IM) and Self-Deceptive Denial (SDD) subscales of the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding (BIDR; Paulhus, 1991)) showed higher overall viewing times for their feedback, and no memory distortions. In contrast, individuals with an egoistic bias (those scoring high on Self-Deceptive Enhancement (SDE) subscale of the BIDR) exhibited a self-enhancing distortion of memory. These findings contribute to our understanding of the different ways individuals may distort information about the self, thus supporting the motivational distinction between egoistic and moralistic biases in self-enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-568
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to J.B. Peterson.


  • Attentional bias
  • Egoistic bias
  • Memory distortion
  • Moralistic bias
  • Self-enhancement
  • Self-perception


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