Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Self-deception, social desirability, and psychopathology

Antonio Pretia1 and Paola Miottoa2

a1 Centro Medico Genneruxi, Cagliari, Italy, and Chair of Clinical Psychology, University of Cagliari, Italy.

a2 Department of Mental Health, ULSS 7, Conegliano (TV), 31015, Italy.


Social desirability can be conceived as a proxy for self-deception, as it involves a positive attribution side and a denial side. People with mental disorders have lower scores on measures of social desirability, which could depend on cognitive load caused by symptoms. This suggests that self-deception is an active strategy and not merely a faulty cognitive process.