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date: 25 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses two self-evaluation motives, self-enhancement (to pursue, maintain, or augment the positivity of self-views—more so than objective standards would warrant) and self-protection (to avoid, repair, or minimize the negativity of self-views—even at the expense of truthful feedback). Under the self-centrality breeds self-enhancement principle (i.e., self-enhancement and self-protection will be particularly influential in personally important domains), the chapter elaborates on five pillars of the two motives: self-serving bias, better-than-average effect, selective self-memory, socially desirable responding, and overclaiming. The chapter also considers other reasons for why self-enhancement and self-protection are motivated (e.g., fluctuations in motive strength as a function of self-threat and self-affirmation) and rules out nonmotivational explanations (e.g., expectancies, egocentrism, focalism). Self-enhancement and self-protection are worthy of a place in the pantheon of human motivation.

Keywords: self-enhancement, self-protection, self-serving bias, better-than-average-effect, selective self-memory, overclaiming, socially desirable responding

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