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Abstract

This article explores the status of impression management (IM) scales (“lie scales,” notably, BIDR-IM) as measures of response bias, offers theory-driven substantive meaning to them, and compares them with self-deception enhancement (SDE). Study 1 (N = 99) compared self-descriptions of actual self and ideal self given in a non-anonymous setting. High similarity indicates self-enhancement. Study 2 (70 dyads) analyzed self-other agreement about IM and SDE. Agreement indicates substantive basis to the scales' scores. Study 3 (N = 182) explored the centrality of self-control in the self-perception of individuals varying in IM and SDE. Study 4 (95 dyads) corroborated self-reports about self-control using informants' reports. In Study 1, IM was associated with relative humility, whereas SDE was associated with self-enhancement. In Study 2, strong self-other agreement was found only for IM, indicating that high IM (but not SDE) is grounded in real-life behavior. In Study 3, self-control was central in the self-perception of high IM and high SDE individuals. In Study 4, strong relations with self-control were corroborated by informants only for IM. IM scales measure substantive content associated with self-control aimed at social adaptation, whereas the SDE scale depicts individuals with a grandiose self-perception, who fail to impress knowledgeable others.