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Tight upper and lower bounds on the probability of error are derived for self-synchronized binary phase-shift keyed (PSK) communication systems. It is shown that the differential, decision feedback, and phase, doubling PSK receivers can all be represented by a single system block diagram. A new maximum-likelihood system is also derived and studied. Monte Carlo computer simulation results are presented for the various systems, and their performance is found to be very similar. Finally, differentially encoded self-synchronized PSK systems are compared to transmitted reference systems, and regions of operation are specified where each class of systems is superior.