Data collected by self-reporting may be skewed by a number of factors.

Information subject to personal censorship:

(1) body weight and size

(2) amount of exercise

(3) substance use

(4) religious or political views

(5) sexual behaviors

(6) distractions while driving

(7) addictive behaviors

(8) recall of past events

(9) dietary behaviors

(10) violence or abuse

(11) criminal behavior


Censorship may take the form of denial, minimization or overestimation based on:

(1) the person's self-image (lying to self)

(2) the social desirability that the person wants to project (lying to others)


A person may or may not be accurate if the person is:

(1) completely anonymous

(2) interacting with a machine (with no chance of human judgment)

(3) interacting with a stranger

(4) interacting with someone well-known to the person

(5) interacting with someone in a position of dominance or authority

(6) facing contradictory evidence that is irrefutable

(7) promised confidentiality

(8) unaware of being observed

(9) asked indirect questions

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