Social Desirability Bias

Social desirability bias refers to the fact that in self-reports, people will often report inaccurately on sensitive topics in order to present themselves in the best possible light (1). This can be due to both self-deception and other-deception. Social desirability can affect the validity of experimental and survey research findings, but procedures such as the use of forced-choice items and the use of proxy subjects can be effective in preventing or reducing social desirability bias (2).

Sources:

(1) Fisher, R. J. (1993). “Social desirability bias and the validity of indirect questioning“. Journal of Consumer Research, 20, 303-315.

(2) Nederhof, A. J. (1985). “Methods of coping with social desirability bias: a review“. European Journal of Social Psychology, 15: 263-280