Honors Theses


Erin O'Mara



Publication Date

Spring 4-2016

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Although information could provide insight, comfort, or opportunity, people are motivated to avoid information that challenges preexisting belief or cause unpleasant emotion. Previous research shows that affirming one’s self-worth can reduce information avoidance. The present study measures whether selfenhancement, or exaggerating qualities to maintain a positive sense of self, can also reduce information avoidance. Self-enhancement is associated with positive mental health and reducing physiological stress symptoms if the exaggeration is within the same domain as threatening information. Participants in the selfenhancement category were asked to give examples of how they are better at maintaining social relationships than the average college student. They were then asked if they would like to see results of a personality test that could potentially show them they are not socially successful. The difference in information avoidance did not vary between those in the self-enhancement condition, those in the selfaffirmation condition, and those control condition. Self-enhancement as a method of information avoidance could be more effective if the domain was more threatening like health information or career outlook.

Permission Statement

This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes.


Undergraduate research



Included in

Psychology Commons