The association between self-deception and moral self-concept as functions of self-consciousness

Huijing Lu, Lei Chang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Regulated by self-consciousness, self-deception is a part of the self-system that suppresses negative aspects of the self and maintains a positive moral self-concept. We tested this evolutionary hypothesis on 166 college students by measuring self-deception using both a questionnaire and a series of hypothetical helping scenarios. The results showed a positive correlation between self-deception and moral self-concept, which was moderated by private self-consciousness. Among participants with high, but not low, self-consciousness, high moral self-concept individuals were more willing to help when potential self-benefits were present than low moral self-concept individuals, whereas there was no difference between the two groups concerning helping without self-benefit. These results support the evolutionary view that self-deception serves to maintain optimal moral self-concept, especially for individuals with high self-consciousness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-849
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Helping intention
  • Morality
  • Self-consciousness
  • Self-deception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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