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Teaching and researching L2 motivation commonly focuses on the learner’s future-self images because they promote taking action toward language learning goals. However, past-self images fundamentally construct the future-self images that can be so motivational. Researching past-selves is problematic because the brain’s memory is fallible and malleable, and continually reconstructs learner’s past-selves. These unconscious self-lies complicate both L2 learning practices and research. This presentation will provide a survey of reliable research methods from social psychology, but which are new to SLA, that can help answer this problem, offering concrete examples for teachers and researches interested in exploring and improving learner motivation.