Misanthropic Person Memory when the Need to Self-enhance Is Absent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research examined the role that the removal of the need or ability to self-enhance can play in the misanthropic processing of attributed behavioral information (i.e., remembering best negative, internally attributed behaviors and positive externally attributed behaviors). Experiment 1 demonstrated that removing a person's need to self-enhance by increasing his or her self-esteem eliminated misanthropic memory, whereas misanthropy was preserved for control participants and perceivers who had experienced a decrease in self-esteem. Furthermore, controlling for participants' self-evaluations eliminated the memory pattern differences between the two experimental conditions. Experiment 2 demonstrated that canceling the ability to self-enhance by having perceivers form an impression of themselves eliminated the misanthropy effect. However, the misanthropy effect was replicated when perceivers learned about an unknown other. The results were discussed with regard to the situations and factors that can increase or reduce the need to self-enhance and their implications for social information processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-269
Number of pages9
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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