The Reciprocal Relationship Between Perceptions of Moral Goodness and Knowledge of Others’ True Selves Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. The idea of true selves is widespread in folk psychology. Most research on this topic has focused on the precursors to and consequences of feeling that one knows or is expressing one’s own true self. As such, little is known about the conditions under which people feel like they know the true selves of others. In five studies (total N = 815), we tested and found support for the hypothesis that moral information is inherently tied to perceived knowledge of others’ true selves. Across all studies, using both descriptive texts (Studies 1–3) and computer-generated faces as stimuli (Studies 4 and 5), participants felt that they knew more about the true selves of highly moral targets relative to other targets and, conversely, believed the targets possessed more moral traits when they felt that they knew the individual’s true self.

altmetric score

  • 20.296

author list (cited authors)

  • Christy, A. G., Kim, J., Vess, M., Schlegel, R. J., & Hicks, J. A.

citation count

  • 16

publication date

  • March 2017