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Abstract

In the present study, 300 subjects were administered 20 sets of four trait-descriptive terms where aspects of content and evaluation were unconfounded (e.g. firm, severe, lenient, and lax). Each subject was also evaluated by three peers using the same sets of four trait terms. Moreover, the subjects responded to several personality inventories and rating scales, and they were also described on these rating scales by their peers. The results showed that the subjects frequently ascribed to themselves or to their peers two favourable trait terms that were descriptively inconsistent (e.g. firm, lenient). A measure of individual differences in socially desirable responding was constructed by summing all desirable responses. Subjects who described themselves in a socially desirable manner were less neurotic and more conscientious according to self-reports as well as peer reports. Several implications of the findings are discussed, and the present SD measure is compared with several well-known desirability scales.