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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 Apr;84(4):890-904.

The over-claiming technique: measuring self-enhancement independent of ability.

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Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Over-claiming is a concrete operalization of self-enhancement based on respondents' ratings of their knowledge of various persons, events, products, and so on. Because 20% of the items are nonexistent, responses can be analyzed with signal detection formulas to index both response bias (over-claiming) and accuracy (knowledge). Study 1 demonstrated convergence of over-claiming with alternative measures of self-enhancement but independence from cognitive ability. In Studies 2-3, the validity of the over-claiming index held even when respondents were (a) warned about the foils or (b) asked to fake good. Study 3 also showed the utility of the over-claiming index for diagnosing faking. In Study 4, the over-claiming technique was applied to the debate over the adaptive value of positive illusions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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