Is the Illusion of Authenticity Beneficial? Merely Perceiving Decisions as Guided by the True Self Enhances Decision Satisfaction Academic Article uri icon


  • Many people endorse a “true-self-as-guide” (TSAG) lay theory of decision-making that suggests following one’s true self is an optimal strategy for making decisions. Across five studies ( N = 1,320), we test whether perceived use of the true self enhances decision satisfaction. Study 1 provides correlational evidence. Studies 2 and 3 provide experimental evidence that participants felt more satisfied with choices made under TSAG instructions, compared to alternate strategies. Critically, we argue that perceived use of the true self enhances decision satisfaction regardless of whether consulting the true self actually influences the decision made. Studies 4 and 5 find evidence in support of this perceptual mechanism. This research provides insight into one way by which people find satisfaction amid life’s uncertainty, extending existing research on the role of the concept of true selves in positive functioning.

altmetric score

  • 5

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, J., Christy, A. G., Rivera, G. N., Hicks, J. A., & Schlegel, R. J.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • March 2020