How would the self be remembered? Evidence for posthumous self-verification

Samantha J. Heintzelman, Jason Trent, Laura A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Three correlational studies and one experiment examined self-verification versus self-enhancement in a posthumous context. In Study 1, in two samples (combined N=3029) modal responses suggest a desire to be remembered as one really is, far into the future. Studies 2 (N=92) and 3 (N=414) showed that posthumous self-verification was independent of life satisfaction, positive self-evaluations, and self-construals but was related to self-esteem, the search for meaning in life, and generativity. In Study 4 (N=461), the salience of negative and positive self-aspects was manipulated. Even when negative qualities were salient, the majority of participants (61%) preferred to be remembered as they really are. The role of self-verification in existential concerns is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


  • Existential psychology
  • Self
  • Self-presentation
  • Self-verification

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