Several studies indicate that directional questions influence self-conceptions. For example, subjects asked “are you happy with your social life?” rated themselves as happier than did subjects asked “are you unhappy with your social life?”. This occurs because subjects use a positive-test strategy to test directional hypotheses about themselves: Subjects were more likely to search their memories for examples of the hypothesized characteristic than for examples of its opposite. The resulting biased set of memories biased subjects′ working self-conceptions. This effect depends on the variability of the relevant self-knowledge. Directional questions biased self-conceptions only when the self-knowledge was inconsistent enough to permit support for opposing hypotheses. When we examined relatively consistent domains of the self, or relatively consistent individuals, neither the content of recruited memories nor self-conceptions were biased by directional questions.
Kunda, Z., Fong, G. T., Sanitioso, R., & Reber, E. (1993). Directional questions direct self-conceptions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 29(1), 63-86.