The research reported in this paper was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to Peter Borkenau.
More May Be Better but There May Be Too Much: Optimal Trait Level and Self-Enhancement Bias
Article first published online: 25 MAR 2009
© 2009, Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2009, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Personality
Volume 77, Issue 3, pages 825–858, June 2009
How to Cite
Borkenau, P., Zaltauskas, K. and Leising, D. (2009), More May Be Better but There May Be Too Much: Optimal Trait Level and Self-Enhancement Bias. Journal of Personality, 77: 825–858. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2009.00566.x
- Issue published online: 22 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 25 MAR 2009
ABSTRACT Although one extreme is more desirable than the opposite extreme on most trait dimensions, neither extreme reflects the most favorable level of the trait. Rather, extreme trait levels are usually considered to be less than optimal. Using a round-robin design, 76 groups of 4 persons each described themselves and each other on 30 trait dimensions and indicated the optimal level on each dimension. Moreover, personality inventories and measures of socially desirable responding were administered to the participants for self- and peer descriptions. Associations between trait level and trait level desirability comprised linear as well as curvilinear components. Participants preferred the optimal level in describing themselves, but trait levels beyond the optimal level in describing peers. A new measure of self-enhancement bias is suggested.