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. [email protected]

a2 Department of Mental Health, ULSS 7, Conegliano (TV), 31015, Italy. [email protected]


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.