Was he admitted to West Point? Was his childhood adversity and temperament precisely as he described them? Did he really try to stab someone in high school?
The recent flap over Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s life story and its accuracy offers a lesson that applies to anyone who’s ever recounted an autobiographical tale, including many other political candidates whose personal narratives include factual errors. That is, self-reported personal anecdotes are seldom entirely accurate and truthful, because they almost can’t be.
When people talk about themselves and their pasts, they are motivated to both selectively remember and selectively disclose positive personal information.