Social desirability and individual conceptions of the desirable

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In a large proportion of the college students studied, there was a strong tendency for the person to believe that his own notions of desirable personal traits were “absolute,” which should be recognized as desirable by others. Yet there were such wide, and predictable, differences among individuals' conceptions of the desirable that the term “social desirability” could have little common meaning; hence the attempt to control distortion of personality test responses by a forced-choice technique, which assumes common conceptions, would seem fruitless. A standard forced-choice measure of personality needs administered to college students did not correlate so well with self-reports of their own relevant behaviors as did a single stimulus form of the same instrument. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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