Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Is social interaction based on guile or honesty?

Matthew L. Brooksa1 and William B. Swann Jr.a1

a1 Department of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712-0187.


Von Hippel & Trivers suggest that people enhance their own self-views as a means of persuading others to adopt similarly inflated perceptions of them. We question the existence of a pervasive desire for self-enhancement, noting that the evidence the authors cite could reflect self-verification strivings or no motive whatsoever. An identity negotiation framework provides a more tenable approach to social interaction.