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The Development of a Behavioral Measure of the Tendency to Overstate One's Knowledge

Ricciuti, Henry N.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
United States Coast Guard Academy, Deception, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Response Style (Tests), Self Evaluation (Individuals), Situational Tests


There are wide individual differences that appear to be evident among adults in their readiness forthrightly to admit lack of knowledge of particular subject matter in somewhat ego-involving situations. It was felt that if a technique for measuring such tendencies could be developed, it would not only facilitate the study of this type of behavior, but it might also offer some practical utility as a validity indicator for personality questionnaire responses. Conceivably, the person who demonstrates a marked tendency to exaggerate or overstate his knowledge might also tend to distort his personality test responses in a favorable direction. An experimental technique was developed for measuring the overstatement tendency.

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