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Self-presentation is the generic term for the human tendency to describe oneself in a self-serving fashion. Because this tendency is assumed to interfere with accurate psychological assessment, much work has been put into devising methods to measure and control for self-presentation. For reviews, see Paulhus (1991) and the entry on Self-Report Distortions' in this volume.

Assessment psychologists would prefer to eliminate or, at least, identify sources of variance that are irrelevant to the attributes being measured (e.g. traits, values, attitudes). Self-presentation is usually assumed to fall in this irrelevant category. Sometimes it is—for example, when a random subset of job applicants is so motivated to land the job that they are faking good. When self-presentation is stable across time and assessment context, however, self-presentation tendencies are ...

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