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The True Self and Psychological Health: Emerging Evidence and Future Directions

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Abstract

A variety of philosophical and psychological perspectives converge to suggest that a happy and meaningful life is the product of living in accord with one’s true self. This idea similarly appears throughout literature, film, and folk wisdom. The current paper examines both theoretical and lay conceptions of the true self and reviews the empirical evidence that supports its role in psychological health, with a particular emphasis on current research that demonstrates that both the accessibility and ease of thinking about one’s true self-concept is associated with the experiences of meaning and satisfaction. The merits of different approaches to defining the true self, measurement issues, and directions for future research are discussed.

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... We posit that people with a stronger preference for reason are more satisfied with decisions to resist temptation and people with a stronger preference for feelings are more satisfied with decisions to indulge temptation because such respective decisions can make them feel more authentic. Authenticity refers to a sense of being in alignment with one's true self or who one really is (Schlegel & Hicks, 2011;Schlegel, Hicks, Arndt, & King, 2009;Sheldon, Gunz, & Schachtman, 2012;Sheldon, Ryan, Rawsthorne, & Ilardi, 1997;Sedikides et al., 2017). The basic components of authenticity are self-knowledge and awareness of one's goals, beliefs, and feelings; self-concordant goals and rejection of external influences; and behavior that is expressive of one's true self (Kernis & Goldman, 2004;Wood, Linley, Maltby, Baliousis, & Joseph, 2008). ...
... Moreover, authenticity is crucial for individuals' welfare more broadly. It has a positive impact on a wide range of life outcomes, such as self-esteem, meaning in life, subjective well-being, and life satisfaction (Boyraz, Waits, & Felix, 2014;Kernis & Goldman, 2004;Schimel, Arndt, Pyszczynski, & Greenberg, 2001;Schlegel & Hicks, 2011;Schlegel et al., 2009;Sheldon et al., 1997;Wood et al., 2008). Taken together, using the true self as an internal compass (Schlegel et al., 2013, p. 542) makes individuals feel happier in general and more satisfied with their decisions in particular. ...
Article
Are people more satisfied with decisions to resist or to indulge temptation? We propose that the effect of restraint versus indulgence on decision satisfaction depends on individual differences in lay rationalism, that is, reliance on reason versus feelings to guide decisions. Across 2 pilot studies and 9 main studies (N = 3,264) with different methodologies and various self-control domains, we found consistent evidence that individuals experience higher satisfaction with restraint the more they rely on reason than on feelings. The proposed effect uniquely concerns individual differences in lay rationalism and is independent from individual differences in trait self-control. We also show that authenticity (feeling true to oneself) is the mechanism underlying this effect and rule out self-typicality (acting in ways typical of oneself) as an alternative account. Additionally, we examined downstream consequences of this effect for compensatory authenticity seeking. These findings advance a more nuanced view of self-control based on identity and suggest that the subjective utility of restraint is contingent upon individual differences in reliance on reason versus feelings in decision making. Our research contributes to the understudied topic of the phenomenology of self-control and provides novel insights into its potential downsides for some individuals. We discuss theoretical implications for research on self-control, lay rationalism and authenticity.
... For example, while living in concordance with one's true self will naturally elicit behavior that aligns with one's own sense of identity (e.g., Koole et al. 2001;Paulhus 1993), it will also elicit behavior that feels autonomous, personally meaningful, and self-determined (e.g., Deci 1980;Deci and Ryan 1985). In conjunction with past research, this suggests that if individuals believe their goals are integrated with a true sense of self, goaldirected action will increase, yield positive experiences, and contribute to a sense of fulfillment and meaning in life (e.g., Schlegel and Hicks 2011;Schlegel et al. 2009;Koole et al. 2001;Strohminger et al. 2017;Sui and Humphreys 2015). Moreover, when habits can be linked to a "true self" identity, this may be particularly effective in eliciting goal-consistent action over time (Verplanken and Sui 2019). ...
... Moreover, when habits can be linked to a "true self" identity, this may be particularly effective in eliciting goal-consistent action over time (Verplanken and Sui 2019). As living in accord with one's true self yields happiness (Schlegel and Hicks 2011), goals that are aligned with one's own sense of self should yield both goal-consistent action and life satisfaction. Future research should explore the intricacies of whether goals that are adopted as identities are also integrated with the true self, as well as how this integration impacts downstream outcomes for long term well-being during goal pursuit. ...
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People who think of their personal goals as identities are more likely to engage in goal-consistent behavior. However, no research has explored whether learning to frame goals as identities can be an effective strategy for pursuing goals in daily life. Across a series of studies, we assessed how incorporating a goal as part of one’s identity impacts goal-consistent choices. In a pilot study, we established a positive correlational relationship between natural goal identification and goal-consistent decision-making. Individuals with stronger healthy-eater identities made healthier food choices in a behavioral choice task. In Studies 1 and 2, we employed longitudinal interventions to teach people to frame their healthy eating goals as identities. We found that people who learned to frame their goals as identities made healthier choices, felt their goals were easier to pursue, reported greater success at managing goals, and made food choices that they both perceived to be healthier and that were rated as healthier by independent evaluators. Across studies, our findings suggest that thinking of goals as identities makes it easier to engage in goal-consistent choices.
... While people may disagree about what decision being "rational" would lead to, each person is the ultimate arbiter on their own true selves. In this way, perceptions of the true self could export meaning and value to whatever decision is reached regardless of how difficult decision-making is or what decision is made (Schlegel & Hicks, 2011). On this view, perceptions are what matter and even illusions of authenticity can be beneficial. ...
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The current research presents five experiments (N = 1298) that examine what decision-making strategies lead to satisfying decisions in moral dilemmas. Past research in other contexts suggests that when people believe that they are using the true self as a guide (TSAG) to make decisions, they experience more decision satisfaction. However, it was unclear whether this past work would generalize to moral dilemmas given that people believe their true selves are morally good and moral dilemmas require a violation of at least one moral code to be resolved. However, results of five studies suggested that TSAG effects extend to moral dilemmas. Studies 1-3 indicated that when participants were given instructions for how to solve moral dilemmas, TSAG instructions led to more satisfying decisions relative to rational thinking, intuition, or no instruction conditions. In Study 4, all participants received non-true self instructions (rational thinking or intuition) during the decision-making process , but half were asked to reframe their decision as being guided by the true self after the decision was made. We found that this reframing facilitated decision satisfaction even though the decision was actually made using alternative instructions, suggesting that perceptions of TSAG may directly drive the observed effects on decision satisfaction as opposed to actual use of the true self per se. Finally, in Study 5, we found evidence that the effect of TSAG instructions was more robust in moral (vs. nonmoral) dilemmas and not contingent on the dilemmas being easy or difficult.
... Meaning in life is defined as a sense that one's life matters, makes sense, and has purpose (George & Park, 2016;King, Heintzelman, & Ward, 2016;Martela & Steger, 2016;Schlegel & Hicks, 2011). Some argue that finding meaning in life is at the core of human existence (Park, 2017). ...
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, various restrictions forced people around the world to socially isolate. People were asked to stay at home and were largely unable to do many of the activities that they derived meaning from. Since meaning is often related to mental health, these restrictions were likely to decrease mental health. The current study aimed to examine these effects and additionally benefit individuals' mental health by making their meaning salient. Specifically, the goal of the research was to design an intervention that could counter the potential negative effects of social distancing. We recruited a total of 96 U.S.A. residents (M age = 34.45, 92.7% Female) and assigned them to either the control group or to a meaning salience intervention. That is, participants either focused on the meaning of their daily activities (n = 45) or did not participate in any study-related activities during the week (n = 51). They completed various measures of mental health before and after this experimental period. Results suggested that the control group reported significantly greater anxiety, depression, and stress at the end of the week. In contrast, the experimental group reported less anxiety and trended toward less depression and stress at the end of that same week. In all, results suggest that simply focusing on one's daily activities and the meaning found in them protected people from the otherwise detrimental effects of the restrictions. This provides a promising and simple intervention that may assist both individuals and practitioners aiming to improve mental health, especially in challenging times.
... Kesamaan self dengan attitude adalah pada dimensi fungsinya yaitu untuk mengarahkan pemikiran dan tingkah laku, sehingga dapat dikatakan bahwa diri yang religius akan mengarahkan individu pada pemikiran dan perilaku yang religius. Konsep self yang juga menjadi pondasi bagi pengembangan konsep religious self adalah true self, yangdidefinisikan sebagai serangkaian karakteristik bawaan dalam diri individu yang relatif permanen yang harus ditemukan oleh individu agar ia dapat memiliki kehidupan yang bermakna (Schlegel & Hicks, 2011). Gagasan tersebut menganggap true self sebagai manifestasi dari inti individualitas seseorang, antara lain spirit, soul, real meaning,dan fundamental nature. ...
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Akhlaqul karimah in general is a temperament that contains elements of goodness. The characteristics consistent with morals, ethics, morality, dignity, and kindness in accordance with reference to the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad. From psychologycal perspective, "self" is the aggregate related. Defined as an awareness of one's own unique existence, self is the crucial factor of regulatory and control functions over the thoughts, feelings, motives, and behavior. Accordingly, the proposed concept "religious self" can be defined as an awareness of the one's own existence in relation to God,in which the awareness of the relationship will be the critical factor that regulate and control the thoughts, feelings, motives, and behavior. Religious self is being argued as having four dimensions:Godness belief, awareness of God-self connectednes, acceptance of God's willpowertoward them, and motif of obedience to God's order. In term of akhlaqul karimah, each dimension of religious self is analogous to the concept of iman (faith), ikhsan (feel of being observed by the Divine), tawakal (resignation), and taqwa (piety), which are features indicate the quality of akhlaqul karimah. Critical review of concepts in common psychology ie religiosity, spirituality, personality, and self, offers new conceptualisation of akhlaqul karimah by the way of psychology. ABSTRAK Akhlaqul karimah atau budi pekerti luhur secara umum adalah suatu perangai yang mengandung unsur-unsur kebaikan dengan ciri yang sejalan dengan moral, etika, kesusilaan, kemuliaan, dan kebaikan sesuai dengan referensi Al-Quran dan Sunnah Rasulullah SAW. Dalam perspektif psikologi, agregat yang dilekati akhlaqul karimahsalah satunya adalah yang dikonseptualisasi sebagai "self". Dengan definisi self yaitu sekumpulan kesadaran akan eksistensi unik seseorang, yang akan menjadi faktor penentu fungsi regulasi dan fungsi kontrol individu, maka religious self (diri religius) dapat didefinisikan sebagai sekumpulan kesadaran akan eksistensi unik seseorang dalam keterhubungannya dengan Tuhan. Kesadaran keterhubungan tersebut akan menjadi faktor penentu fungsi regulasi dan fungsi kontrol atas pikiran, perasaan, motif, dan perilakunya. Berangkat dari definisi self, diajukan konsep diri religius dengan dimensi-dimensi meliputi keyakinan kebertuhanan, kesadaran keterhubungan dengan Tuhan, penerimaan akan kehendak Tuhan pada diri, dan motivasi kepatuhan pada Tuhan. Dalam konteks akhlaqul karimah, maka secara berurutan masing-masing dimensi tersebut analog dengan konsep iman, ikhsan, tawakkal, dan taqwa, yaitu fitur-fitur penciri akhlaqul karimah. Telaah sistematis dilakukan terhadap sejumlah konsep dalam ruang keilmuan psikologi yaitu religiusitas, spiritualitas, kepribadian, dan self. Tujuan penyusun mengkonstruksi konsep diri religius adalah untuk mengkonseptualisasiakhlaqul karimah dengan perspektif psikologi yang relatif lebih dipahami secara universal dalam ruang keilmuan psikologi. Kata Kunci: Diri Religius, Akhlaqul Karimah, Religiusitas PENDAHULUAN Diri religius adalah konsep yang konstruksinya berpijak pada konsep dan teori self, religiusitas, dan spiritualitas. Sebagai sebuah konstruk yang baru dikonstruksi, meskipun dibangun di atas tiga bangunan
... The expression of the true self has been examined from different perspectives in different contexts. Although previous studies have reviewed some articles related to the true self, they only focused on the true self in the offline world (Schlegel and Hicks 2011;Strohminger, Knobe, and Newman 2017). In addition, existing review papers about true self-used narrative review method, which lacks objective and systematic criteria in study selection (Pae 2015). ...
Article
The true self is one of the essential parts of people’s self-concept and identity, but it is not easily expressed in face-to-face communications. On the Internet, people can express what they intrinsically think and believe with fewer concerns about others’ disapproval and judgments. Increasingly more researchers have started to investigate people’s expression of the true self in the online context. However, the existing research is quite diverse and fragmented. A rigorous and comprehensive review of the emerging literature is called for. The present study conducted a systematic literature review to examine what is already known about the expression of the true self online. This paper analysed the selected studies on the basis of research contexts, research methods, and research themes. Our review offers readers an easy access to the current status of research in this field; it also provides some insightful suggestions for future studies.
... The true self is a set of permanent innate characteristics in an individual that must be self-discovered for an individual to have a meaningful life (Schlegel & Hicks, 2012). Self Determination Theory (SDT), defines true self as an aspect of self that contains appreciation of personal freedom in determining its individuality, caused by internal factors, meaning personally, and directed by itself. ...
... We define self-connection as a subjective experience consisting of three components: (1) an awareness of oneself, (2) an acceptance of oneself based on this awareness, and (3) an alignment of one's behavior with this awareness (see . In this way, the first component of self-connection is consistent with recent conceptualizations of the self (Schlegel & Hicks, 2011;Schlegel, Hicks, Arndt, & King, 2009). However, while the self is considered an internal and potentially private phenomenon, our definition of self-connection goes beyond just the internal to focus on the degree to which a person is attuned to an essential inner self, accepts that self, and aligns their behavior with that inner self. ...
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The current research sought to better understand the effect of mindfulness on well-being by examining self-connection as a potential mediator. We define self-connection as: (1) an awareness of oneself, (2) an acceptance of oneself based on this awareness, and (3) an alignment of one’s behavior with this awareness. Based on this definition, we measured self-connection, mindfulness and well-being using two distinct samples and two different operationalizations of well-being. In Study 1, we recruited 101 people from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) and asked them about their connection to themselves, mindfulness and flourishing. In Study 2, we surveyed an additional 104 people from MTurk, again measuring mindfulness and self-connection. However, this time we operationalized well-being as satisfaction with life. As expected, mindfulness predicted self-connection and well-being in both studies. Self-connection also predicted well-being and partially mediated the relationship between mindfulness and well-being. These results suggest that mindfulness bolsters self-connection, which in turn increases people’s well-being.
... One particularly new concept in positive psychology, self-connection, is defined as a subjective experience consisting of three components: (1) an awareness of oneself, (2) an acceptance of oneself based on this awareness, and (3) an alignment of one's behavior with this awareness Klussman et al., under review;. It, in part, relies on one's view of the self-what one feels is most essential or most personally endorsed about oneself (Rogers, 1959;Schlegel & Hicks, 2011). Although research has just begun, it appears that self-connection is distinct from, yet related to, mindfulness and relates to both meaning in life and other aspects of well-being . ...
Article
Background: Researchers have rarely examined mindfulness and meaning in a way that informs the causality and directionality of this relationship. The current research examines this relationship across time, further validates the Self-Connection Scale (SCS), and examines the role of self-connection in both moderating and mediating this relationship. This allows for researchers and practitioners alike to utilise self-connection to help increase their own and others' well-being. Methods: One hundred and fifty-four participants completed measures of mindfulness, self-connection, and meaning over 4 weeks. We also included various measures related to well-being to further examine the nomological network of the SCS. Results: Multi-level models examined a total of 432 observations across 108 participants. Mindfulness predicted an increase in the presence of but not search for meaning. Self-connection partially mediated the effect on the presence of meaning and moderated the effect on the search for meaning. Furthermore, the SCS demonstrated good validity and reliability across time. Conclusions: Self-connection, as measured by the SCS, has an important role in positive psychology, and those with a deficit are likely to benefit the most from increased mindfulness. Together, this provides several implications for using mindfulness and self-connection research in personal and professional practice.
... Authenticity is traditionally studied as a trait linked to eudemonic well-being (Kernis & Goldman, 2006) and psychological health (Schlegel & Hicks, 2011). Recently, however, authenticity has been explored as a state-level variable, reflecting a state of congruence between an individual's identity and their actions within a given situation (Lenton, Bruder, Slabu, & Sedikides, 2013). ...
Article
Grounded in Motivated Identity Construction Theory and Self‐Determination Theory, two studies examined the consequences of identity enactment and concealment for motive fulfillment and explored how these mediate the negative effects of stigmatized identities on felt authenticity. Participants (Ns=343 and 344) reported the extent to which they had enacted and/or concealed 8 to 12 of their identities in the past 3 days and evaluated their motive fulfillment and felt authenticity. Using multilevel modeling, we found that identity enactment positively predicted felt authenticity via motive satisfaction, while concealment negatively predicted authenticity via thwarted motive satisfaction. Identities were coded with respect to stigmatization in Study 2 and stigmatized identities felt relatively less authentic, with effects mediated through suppressed enactment, heightened concealment, and thwarted motives. Thus, stigmatized identities do not inherently feel less authentic, rather it is individuals’ self‐distancing behaviors that impairs feelings of authenticity for a stigmatized identity.
... Another method is to let participants describe their true self by asking participants who they believe they really are. The results obtained through this kind of method have been referred to as "true self-concept [23]." This measurement allows a closer look at the content and construct of the true self-concept, and provides a comparison with the other types of self-concept (e.g., actual self, ideal self, social self, et al.). ...
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... In reality, the modern and tech-savvy consumer/customer is becoming more grateful of differentiation and much more difficult to identify on current social stratification. Researchers suggest that when buyers are seen to be loyal to themselves by a marketing company or other consumers (Schlegel & Hicks, 2011), their market experience might be more favourable relative to consumers who have a social identity (Reed, 2004), particularly when consumers do not have a public label. Thereby, scholars suggest that businesses can gain from tackling consumers/customers by their real self rather than by the self or individuality that is created or generated by culture and used in the global market (Henderson & Rank-Christman, 2016). ...
Article
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This paper looks at the concept of Diversity from the traditional perspective in Indian context and what are the classical arguments in favour and against Indian Democracy & Diversity. The orthodox view and certain western interpretations about diversity have been antagonistic to each other. India is cradle to hundreds and thousands of languages, religions, castes and ethnicities. Over the past century, diversity has played an important role in strengthening India's Democracy. Historical fault lines have remained ripe and open to fiddling along the line of caste & religion. They are easy prey for exploitation by the machinations of demagogues and hardened secessionists. Secessionist and separatist tendencies have remained alive. Exploiting these diverse ideologies and historical fault lines in India has posed a serious threat to India's integrity and sovereignty. The effects of Artificial Intelligence, the emergence of information technology and economic boom has given rise to a 'new' diversity in terms of digital literates and illiterates, haves and have-nots-because of uneven economic growth. These themes don't differentiate in terms of religion, language, caste, colour and region. This paper will try to nuance diversity of India vis-à-vis AI, Technology and Economic boom, consumerism and further will try to draw a contrast between the traditional diversity challenges for India and the new ones. This paper is descriptive, analytical and holistically takes into consideration the secondary literature available and other primary data already available. The review of literature spans in and around India. Traditionally, India has been the cradle of many cultures, religions, regions, races, castes and languages. But lately, due to advent of Globalization and India's embracing of Liberalising trends after 1991, diversity was taken over by the consumerist boom. Consumerism doesn't differentiate between back and white, a Muslim and a Hindu, a south Indian and a North Indian. Thus, being a great leveller and equaliser. Apart from this Consumer culture has led to rise of "new" diversity in terms of haves and have-nots, people who go to malls and enjoy big sky-scrappers.
... Furthermore, authenticity has also been linked with wellbeing (Lakey, Kernis, Heppner, & Lance, 2008;Schlegel & Hicks, 2011;Wood, Linley, Maltby, Baliousis, & Joseph, 2008), and may help foster positive interpersonal relationships (Baker, Tou, Bryan, & Knee, 2017;Brunell et al., 2010;Tou, Baker, Hadden, & Lin, 2015;Wickham, Williamson, Beard, Kobayashi, & Hirst, 2016). ...
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There is growing interest in surfing as a recreational activity that may facilitate skill development and improved mental health. However, there remains uncertainty regarding the causal processes through which surfing may improve psychological well-being. With the aim to guide future research, we review potential mechanisms that may underpin the psychotherapeutic effects of surfing. A range of plausible factors are identified, including exercise, water immersion, exposure to sunlight, transcendent experiences, reductions in rumination and the satisfaction of basic psychological needs. Further research is needed to clarify the effectiveness of surfing-based therapies and to establish the relative contributions of the causal mechanisms at play.
... Because when people think about their true selves, they feel a greater increase in self-esteem. Moreover, the choices and actions consistent with one's true self lead to a more excellent feeling of meaning and satisfaction [43]. Hence, the closer employees feel to their true selves in the workplace, the more likely they are to report higher psychological well-being. ...
... Particularly, much research has explored the consequences of authenticity. Authenticity is linked to self-esteem, quality of relationships, positive affect, experience of meaning in life, and hope for the future (Andersen & Williams, 1985;Harter, 2002;Harter, Marold, Whitesell, & Cobbs, 1996;Heppner et al., 2008;Kernis, 2003;Schlegel & Hicks, 2011;Sheldon et al., 1997). Prior research has identified antecedents such as personality traits (Sheldon et al., 1997) and behavioral variability (Fleeson & Wilt, 2010). ...
Article
This research investigates the effect of individuals’ subjective perceptions of the overlap among different identities on their feelings of authenticity and the likelihood of engaging in unethical behavior. Across four studies we found that low (vs. high) identity integration led to greater feelings of inauthenticity and a higher likelihood of engaging in unethical behavior. Manipulation of low (vs. high or control) identity integration led to higher feelings of inauthenticity (Study 1) and greater cheating behavior (Study 2). Feelings of inauthenticity mediated the causal effect of low identity integration on dishonesty (Study 3). In a field survey, using supervisor–employee dyads, we replicated the results from the lab to show that employees who reported lower identity integration felt more inauthentic and were more likely to behave unethically as measured by their supervisors’ report of interpersonal and organizational deviance (Study 4). Our results demonstrate that the manner in which individuals view their multiple identities influences feelings of inauthenticity and unethical behavior.
... Research indicates that experiential acceptance and authenticity correlate with one's level of psychopathology (Chawla & Ostafin, 2007). Ego states and self-realization are also correlated (Arndt et al., 2002;Schimel et al., 2001;Schlegel & Hicks, 2011;Vos, 2017). Individuals who feel that they are able to live a meaningful and satisfying life experience less psychopathology and better overall well-being (Vos, 2016a(Vos, , 2016b(Vos, , 2017. ...
Article
This article presents a focused review of the research literature in transactional analysis (TA). TA was developed in the 1950s as a theory of human personality and social behavior and as a comprehensive form of psychotherapy, but there has not been any systematic research to test the empirical evidence for the efficacy of TA theory and practice. The aim of this study was to develop the conceptual model of transactional analysis on the basis of a systematic review of the actual, self-reported practice of international TA psychotherapists and on the evidence found in research. The article systematically reviews common conceptual components of TA and their empirical evidence by examining the common denominator and the empirical evidence for the central clinical phenomenon, etiology, therapeutic mechanisms, therapeutic competencies, outcomes, and synthesis. TA focuses on problems in ego states (operationalized as Parent, Adult, and Child) with distinctive behavioral functions of Controlling Parent, Nurturing Parent, Adult, Adapted Child, and Free Child. Individuals can develop long-term problems in their ego states, social functioning, and self-efficacy as the result of unfavorable messages from their social context (negative parental messages in early life, lack of developing mature coping mechanisms, intergenerational messages, negative stroke balance), script decisions (accepting or rejecting unfavorable messages via behavior, emotional disconnection, or cognitive styles), life events, and genetics/temperament. TA treatment intends to help clients by developing constructive ego states, improving social functioning, and stimulating a sense of self-efficacy. Research confirms that TA improves psychopathology, behavior, and general well-being thanks to improvement in ego states, self-efficacy, and social functioning. These effects are achieved by four evidence-based therapist competencies: creating a positive client-practitioner relationship, working with experiences in the present, etiological analysis (life scripts, injunctions, counterinjunctions), and therapeutic structure (treatment contracts, treatment stages, psychoeducation/didactics). Meta-analysis of 75 studies shows that TA has moderate to large positive effects on psychopathology, self-efficacy, social functioning, and ego states. This conceptual model shows that TA can be considered a bona fide and evidence-based treatment for a wide range of clients.
... Perceptions of free will are also related to perceptions of the true self (Newman et al., 2015;Schlegel & Hicks, 2011). The true self is a fundamental subset of psychological properties that constitute identity, which includes one's sense of agency: how people assign authorship to their actions shapes their sense of self (Ryan & Deci, 2000;Schlegel et al., 2009;Strohminger et al., 2017;Waller 2019;Wegner, 2003). ...
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Two experiments tested the hypothesis that neurological abnormalities decrease punishment by decreasing perceptions of free will. Experiment 1 found that a brain tumor decreased punishment for criminal behavior by decreasing perceptions of the afflicted criminal’s free will. This effect was stronger for liberal and non-religious participants than for conservative and religious participants. Experiment 2 replicated Experiment 1 and additionally found that a brain tumor decreased perceptions of the afflicted criminal’s conscious decisions and true self, thereby decreasing perceptions of his free will, thereby decreasing his punishment. Collectively, these results suggest that neurological abnormalities decrease punishment by decreasing perceptions of free will, especially among liberals and non-religious people. These results also suggest that neurological abnormalities decrease perceptions of free will—and ultimately decrease punishment—by decreasing perceptions of conscious decisions and the true self.
... Authenticity is traditionally studied as a trait linked to eudemonic well-being (Kernis & Goldman, 2006) and psychological health (Schlegel & Hicks, 2011). Recently, however, authenticity has been explored as a state-level variable, reflecting a state of congruence between an individual's identity and their actions within a given situation (Lenton, Bruder, Slabu, & Sedikides, 2013). ...
Article
Special Issue description: Despite equal rights, minority groups such as ethnic minorities, LGBTQ + people, and people with mental or physical disabilities face discrimination on a day-to-day basis in subtle and hard-to-recognize forms. As discrimination slips beneath the surface, it becomes difficult to fight the stigma using collective social identity coping mechanisms. Instead, individual mobility responses such as distancing the self from the stigmatized identity (“self-group distancing”) become more viable as a way to improve one's individual standing. In this overview of the state of the art, we take a social identity lens to reflect on the current empirical knowledge base on self-group distancing as a coping mechanism and provide a framework on what self-group distancing is; when, where and why self-group distancing likely occurs; and what its consequences are at the individual and the collective level. The contributions in this special issue provide novel insights into how these processes unfold, and serve as a basis to set a future research agenda, for example on what can be done to prevent self-group distancing (i.e., interventions). Together, the insights highlight that while self-group distancing may seem effective to (strategically and temporarily) alleviate discomfort or to improve one's own position, on a broader collective level and over time self-group distancing tends to keep the current unequal social hierarchy in place.
... The construct of authenticity connotes living in ways that represent the true self, and it is considered a hallmark of psychological well-being (Schlegel & Hicks, 2011). Moment-tomoment variations in state authenticity are positively associated with value-consistent behavior, self-esteem, and positive moods (Sedikides et al., 2017). ...
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Research suggests that trait introverts feel more authentic when acting extraverted. We explored boundaries of this idea by assessing trait and identities as introvert or extravert and asking participants to debate extraversion’s value. Students (Study 1: N = 310, Study 2 direct replication: N = 407) were randomly assigned to pro or con sides in the debate and then reported their state authenticity and affect. Results suggested interactions between individual differences (trait, identity) and debate condition on authenticity. Counter-dispositional and counter-identity debating decreased authenticity, though with variation in strength across studies. Affect did not follow this pattern. These findings provide preliminary evidence for the importance of trait-related identities and suggest limits to the benefits of embracing counter-dispositional extraversion.
... Authenticity refers to whether a person is expressing their "true" or "core" self in their behavior or whether the person is behaving in a way that is true to what they really experience (144). Authenticity has been associated with higher personal (145)(146)(147) and interpersonal well-being (148,149). People with SAD have been shown to experience lower self-rated authenticity in dyadic interactions as well as being rated by conversational partners as less authentic (150). ...
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... The construct of authenticity connotes living in ways that represent the true self, and it is considered a hallmark of psychological well-being (Schlegel & Hicks, 2011). Moment-tomoment variations in state authenticity are positively associated with value-consistent behavior, self-esteem, and positive moods (Sedikides et al., 2017). ...
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Research suggests that trait introverts feel more authentic when acting extraverted. We explored boundaries of this idea by assessing trait and identities as introvert or extravert and asking participants to debate extraversion’s value. Students (Study 1: N = 310, Study 2 direct replication: N = 407) were randomly assigned to pro or con sides in the debate and then reported their state authenticity and affect. Results suggested interactions between individual differences (trait, identity) and debate condition on authenticity. Counter-dispositional and counter-identity debating decreased authenticity, though with variation in strength across studies. Affect did not follow this pattern. These findings provide preliminary evidence for the importance of trait-related identities and suggest limits to the benefits of embracing counter-dispositional extraversion.
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The farming communities in the Christiana district with a population of close to 21 000 residents struggled with issues including poverty, unemployment, financial problems, alcoholism, occultism and Satanism and family issues such as father absence, fatherlessness and single parenting. An intervention that included training and equipping of fathers, who were farm workers from the local faith community, was necessary and crucial. Farm workers (faith communities) responded to the need for a biblical fatherhood programme. Human fatherhood should be recognised and given serious consideration because it gave an anticipation of who God the Father is. If human fatherhood did not exist, then all truth and knowledge about God the Father would be void and insignificant. Fatherhood today is an element of broken families and perhaps the most threatened element in the world. The aim of this article was to lessen the social issue of father absence through the implementation of the Biblical Fatherhood Programme. The programme has a biblical nature to solve social ills within communities. The programme was developed from a practical-theological study on fatherhood, with the primary reason to train and equip participants with fatherhood knowledge. This article presents a reflective and community engagement strategy, based on the author’s reflection of items that arose when a biblical fatherhood programme was presented to farm workers in the Christiana district of South Africa. Reflection as a methodology enabled researchers and practitioners to theorise from their own practice, improving and developing their work. Reflection was a turning back onto ‘a self’ where the researcher was the observer of the scenario. Reflection was also a significant and mental activity for researchers to use in their work with participants. The results and this article presented the reflective, rather than empirical findings of the programme implementation. The training intervention was presented in a narrative form and based on research about the essence of fatherhood. This was conceptualised from biblical truth and perspective. Participants showed immense interest in the programme and the Bible. Their theological views concerning the Bible for answers were crucial to their problems and situations. Participants’ spiritual life was pivotal to enjoy healthy relationships with God. Contribution: The programme contributed monumentally to the lives of participants. It was impossible for participants to live their lives without the Bible. The Bible is not just an authoritative source of teaching, but it speaks of human fatherhood and serves as a guideline to enunciate the care of God the Father.
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Self-reported authenticity is related to higher well-being, however, employing self-report questionnaires to measure authenticity may be limited in that they do not capture the lived experience of authenticity. We employ a narrative identity approach to the study of authenticity to potentially better capture some of the idiosyncratic richness and nuance of authentic experience. In Study 1, 87 undergraduates wrote descriptions of three separate memories: one in which they felt authentic, one in which they felt inauthentic, and a vivid, emotional memory. Thematic analysis identified five dimensions of authenticity (relational authenticity, resisting external pressures, expression of true self, contentment, owning one's actions) and 4 dimensions of inauthenticity (phoniness, suppression, self-denigration, and conformity). In study 2, 103 undergraduates provided written descriptions of authentic and inauthentic experiences. Scenes were coded for the dimensions of authenticity and inauthenticity listed above, and those categories were related to self-report scales assessing authenticity and related constructs (autonomy, honesty, Machiavellianism). Correlational and factor extension results suggested that narratives themes showed evidence of both convergent and discriminant validity. Implications for narrative and self-report approaches to authenticity are discussed.
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Recent research suggests self-connection relates to various aspects of well-being, yet it is not understood what factors stop us from connecting with ourselves. This qualitative study seeks to understand the barriers that prevent people from obtaining an awareness of the self, acceptance of that self, and acting in alignment with the self. Twenty-seven participants journaled about self-connection for fifteen minutes per day for five days. All but one participant brought up various barriers to the three components of self-connection. In general, the barriers participants reported reflected both internal (i.e., feeling lost, negative self-judgment, a lack of motivation, avoidance, and prioritizing others) and external factors (i.e., time, work, ability to meet basic needs, and powerlessness). This research highlights the importance of understanding what barriers exist to self-connection. More research is now needed to focus on developing interventions to help circumvent these barriers.
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The question of what makes someone the same person through time and change has long been a preoccupation of philosophers. In recent years, the question of what makes ordinary or lay people (that is, individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, including non-philosophers) judge that someone is – or isn’t – the same person has caught the interest of experimental psychologists. These latter, empirically oriented researchers have sought to understand the cognitive processes and eliciting factors that shape ordinary people’s judgments about personal identity and the self. Still more recently, practitioners within an emerging discipline, experimental philosophical bioethics or “bioxphi” -- the focus of this chapter – have adopted a similar aim and employed similar methodologies, but with two distinctive features: (a) a special concern for enhanced ecological validity in the examples and populations studied; and (b) an interest in contributing to substantive normative debates within the wider field of bioethics.
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********* Important Note: The final version of this preprint along with all appendices and supplemental material was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology in May, 2020. If applicable, please cite the final, published version of this manuscript: Crabtree, M. A & Pillow, D.R. (2020). Consequences of enactment and concealment for felt authenticity: Understanding the effects of stigma through self-distancing and motive fulfillment. European Journal of Social Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2680 *********** Grounded in Motivated Identity Construction Theory and Self-Determination Theory, two studies examined the consequences of identity enactment and concealment for motive fulfillment and explored how these mediate the negative effects of stigmatized identities on felt authenticity. Participants (Ns=343 and 344) reported the extent to which they had enacted and/or concealed 8 to 12 of their identities in the past 3 days and evaluated their motive fulfillment and felt authenticity. Using multilevel modeling, we found that identity enactment positively predicted felt authenticity via motive satisfaction, while concealment negatively predicted authenticity via thwarted motive satisfaction. Identities were coded with respect to stigmatization in Study 2 and these related negatively to felt authenticity with effects mediated through suppressed enactment, heightened concealment, and thwarted motives. Thus, stigmatized identities do not inherently feel less authentic, rather it is individuals’ self-distancing behaviors that impairs feelings of authenticity for a stigmatized identity. This pre-print represents the author's copy of the manuscript which is currently in press for publication in the European Journal of Social Psychology. Please do not distribute without the author's permission. Please cite the published version of this preprint when it becomes available.
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Self-connection is composed of three factors: (1) self-awareness, (2) self-acceptance, and (3) self-alignment. Although some promising results suggest that self-connection uniquely contributes to well-being, they have relied on an untested, single-item measure. To advance empirical examination of self-connection and its role in well-being, the current research developed and validated a 12-item Self-Connection Scale (SCS). A total of 1,469 participants were recruited across three studies to examine the SCS and its three underlying components. Using both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, we found evidence supporting the factor structure and inter-item reliability as well as evidence of construct, concurrent, and incremental validity. Importantly, results from three studies suggest that the SCS is associated with multiple important indicators of health and well-being. The scale also demonstrated incremental validity beyond mindfulness, authenticity, self-concept clarity, self-compassion, and self-acceptance in its association with various mental health and well-being indicators. Thus, the SCS provides a valuable tool to measure and study self-connection and its relationship to well-being and other important psychological outcomes.
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Employees withholding their opinions is pervasive in organizations. However, the individual outcomes of employee silence have not been frequently investigated. Previous studies have found that there are detrimental effects of employee silence and building on this research stream, the study viewed perceived stress as an underlying mechanism linking employee silence to task performance and deviant behavior. Moreover, this study explored the moderating effect of interpersonal trust in the relationship between employee silence and perceived stress. Using a sample of 231 white-collar employees from China, this study found perceived stress to mediate the relationships between employee silence and task performance and deviant behavior. Also, coworker trust was found to moderate the relationship between employee silence and perceived stress. As coworker trust moderated the relationship, supplementary analyses further found mediated moderation for the model.
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Introduction: Research suggests that perceived true self-knowledge is important for well-being. However, less discussion exists about how perceived true self-knowledge affects therapy outcomes. We suggest that perceived true self-knowledge may be important when attempting to address client stuckness (i.e., lack of progress in therapy; Beaudoin, 2008). We argue that when clients perceive a lack of true self-knowledge, they are unable to draw upon the true self-concept as a source of meaning. This may hinder therapeutic progress and contribute to client stuckness. Methods: We present theoretical evidence for the role of perceived true self-knowledge in experiences of stuckness. Then, we present case studies of two stuck clients and their therapeutic interventions as preliminary evidence for our model. Results: Direct strategies geared at enhancing true self-knowledge by helping the client construct coherent self-concepts worked for one client, but not for the other. Indirect strategies, grounded in social psychological research, are outlined as a method of enhancing perceptions of true self-knowledge for clients who do not benefit from direct strategies. Discussion: Potential moderators for the effectiveness of direct versus indirect strategies to enhance true self-knowledge are discussed. We then outline promising avenues for future research that include attempts to investigate the prevalence of self-alienation in clinical populations, and the effectiveness of strategies aimed at enhancing perceived true self-knowledge among clients experiencing stuckness.
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This article provides a reflective discussion of and narrative approach to incarcerated fathers based on the attendees of a Fatherhood Faith-Based Values Intervention programme at the Potchefstroom Remand Detention Facility. It is important to note that one-third of South African inmates are between the ages of 18 and 25 years – hence the reason why the majority of intervention and community engagement programmes at correctional services take place amongst the youth age group. The Department of Correctional Services reported in 2011 that South Africa had 159 265 incarcerated inmates at the time, of whom 110 905 were sentenced offenders and 48 360 were awaiting trial. In 2013, the World Incarcerated Brief reported that South Africa had the largest incarcerated population in Africa and the ninth largest in the world. Seventeen-year-olds comprised 53 000 of this number and were guilty of serious crimes. These numbers increased tremendously over the years. According to the former South African Minister of Correctional Services, Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, in 2013, 30% of inmates were young black men. He also indicated that, although 23 000 inmates were being released each year, 25 000 were introduced into the correctional services system. South Africa currently has overcrowded places of incarceration even though the President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, granted special remission to 14 647 offenders in 2019. Incarcerated fathers are traumatised and affected by these places of captivity, even when they are on parole or released from detention. The effect of incarceration is a serious concern in the South African landscape and challenge to the researcher who studies the fatherhood phenomenon and the dilemma of father absence.
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Fidelity with self-transcendent values is hailed as a hallmark of mature and magnanimous character by classic psychological and philosophical theories. Dozens of contemporary experiments inspired by self-affirmation theory have also found that when people are under threat, focus on self-transcendent values can confer magnanimity by improving psychological buoyancy (less anxious and more courageous, determined, and effective) and decreasing belligerence (less defensive, extreme, and hostile). The present research was guided by the postulate that both aspects of magnanimity—its buoyancy and its freedom from belligerence—arise from the approach motivated states that self-transcendent foci can inspire. Experimental manipulations of self-transcendent foci (values, spirituality, compassion) heightened state approach motivation as assessed by electroencephalography (Study 1, n = 187) and self-report (Study 2, n = 490). Further, even though the heightened approach motivation was transient, it mediated a longer-lasting freedom from moral (Study 1) and religious (Study 2) belligerence. Importantly, self-transcendent-focus effects on approach motivation and belligerence occurred only among participants with high trait meaning search scores. Results support an interpretation of meaningful values and spiritual ideals as self-transcendent priorities that operate according to basic motivational mechanics of abstract-goal pursuit. The transient, approach-motivated state aroused by transcendence-focus causes longer lasting relief from preoccupation with threat, leaving people feeling buoyant and generous. Relevance of results for self-affirmation theory and the psychology of spirituality are discussed.
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Self-connection is defined as an (1) awareness of oneself, (2) acceptance of oneself based on this awareness, and (3) alignment of one's behavior with this awareness. Although some promising results suggest that self-connection uniquely contributes to well-being, they have relied on an untested, single-item measure. To advance empirical examination of self-connection and its role in well-being, the current research developed and validated a 12-item Self-Connection Scale (SCS). We recruited a total of 1,469 participants across three studies to examine the SCS and its three underlying components. Using both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, we found evidence supporting the factor structure and inter-item reliability as well as evidence of construct, concurrent, and incremental validity. Importantly, results from three studies suggest that the SCS is associated with multiple important indicators of health and well-being. The scale also demonstrated incremental validity beyond mindfulness, authenticity, self-concept clarity, self-compassion, and self-acceptance in its association with various mental health and well-being indicators. Thus, the SCS provides a valuable tool to measure and examine self-connection and its relationship to well-being and other important psychological outcomes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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This article explores coproduction in relation to autistic people. We reflect on the coproduction process with autistic adults from the Authentistic Research Collective at University College London. We aimed to support the autistic population's mental health needs by coproducing a document on adapting psychological therapy, and by developing a set of reflective guidelines to guide and encourage future coproduction initiatives between autistic and nonautistic team members. We reflect upon six elements that are of potential importance for future coproduction projects with autistic adults: (1) the meaning of coproduction; (2) ground rules and a traffic light system; (3) environmental adaptations; (4) digital communication tools; (5) encouraging authenticity; and (6) supporting autistic strengths. We conclude by discussing future research avenues into optimizing coproduction with autistic people, and how such research may influence both practice and policy.
Chapter
In a rapidly changing world, good education should foster curiosity, absorption, adaptability, and lifelong learning. In online education, authenticity is likely one important attribute that can help facilitate this higher form of learning. In this chapter, I briefly discuss the conceptualisation of authenticity, highlighting issues that may have thwarted research in this area. This chapter will also attempt to highlight the importance of authenticity and suggest that it is one of the basic elements of good teaching, particularly online teaching, that should not be forgotten as education moves forward into this new frontier. Lastly, this chapter will discuss the challenges of authenticity in online education and suggest ways in which it can be enhanced.
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Portrét je veľmi žiadaným a obľúbeným žánrom fotografie, a to nielen v súčasnosti. Bolo to tak už za čias fotografov, ktorých môžeme označiť za priekopníkov portrétnej fotografie ako takej. Nadar, Disdéri či iní spopularizovali toto médium a predurčili jeho dominantnú úlohu v spoločnosti, keď sa v ich ateliéroch začali zhromažďovať vtedajšie celebrity. Postupom času sa zmenil aj prístup umelca k fotografovaným subjektom. Okrem fyzických čŕt sa fotograf snaží zachytiť aj niečo "za" tým všetkým. V tejto práci sa venujeme nielen skúmaniu interpretačných hľadísk pri procese portrétovania či jeho spoločenskej funkcii, ale i objasneniu toho, čo znamená identita v portrétnej fotografii a ako sa v nej prejavuje. Zároveň prechádzame aj do kontextu médií, kde sa identita človeka prispôsobuje univerzálnemu modelu, tzv. mýtu krásy, zneužíva sa a predkladá ľuďom v podobe umelých ikon a sexsymbolov. Tu zohráva kľúčovú úlohu práve fotografia, pretože možnosť reprodukovať obrazy znázorňujúce to, ako majú ženy vyzerať, priniesli nové technológie masovej produkcie okolo roku 1840 v podobe prvých fotografií nahých prostitútok. V preferovaní ideálu krásy pokračujú médiá dodnes.
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Authenticity predicts greater presence of meaning in life, in general (between-persons) and in the moment (within-persons). However, little is known about whether authenticity predicts negative aspects of life meaning, such as struggles with ultimate meaning. Across three studies (total N = 719), two of which used daily diaries (daily reports = 1,980), correlations, confirmatory factor analyses, and multilevel path models together showed that higher levels of authenticity related positively to presence of meaning and negatively to struggle with ultimate meaning at the between- and within-person levels. These findings are consistent with humanistic, existential, and positive psychology theories of authenticity and meaning and raise the possibility that increasing authenticity states over time may predict sustained improvement in multiple aspects of meaning.
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This article presents the process and findings of a cooperative inquiry exploring the experience of the authentic self—a prominent theoretical construct in humanistic psychology and diverse spiritual traditions. Despite theoretical prominence and emergent psychological research interest, there has been little qualitative research into the authentic self as it is experientially encountered and lived. The present study addresses this gap in the literature using an experiential and participatory research approach. Seven co-inquirers joined in nine cycles of action and reflection over the course of 6 months to inquire, “What is my (the) experience of my (the) authentic self?” In collaboration with the co-inquirers, the initiating coresearcher generated six themes using thematic analysis in response to this primary research question: (a) presence and flow, (b) somatic awareness and vitality, (c) expression of truth, (d) multidimensionality and integration, (e) values and impulses, and (f) dynamism and relationality. In addition, the transformative and practical outcomes of the inquiry are discussed. Finally, several implications of these outcomes and suggestions for future research are outlined.
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A case is made for the substitutability of self-esteem regulation mechanisms such as cognitive dissonance reduction, self-affirmation, and social comparison. For example, a threat to self via cognitive dissonance might be reduced by a favorable social comparison outcome. To explain substitution, it is suggested that self-esteem regulation mechanisms inevitably produce affect and that affect mediates the completion of various self-esteem regulation processes. Substitution can be understood in terms of the transfer of affect from the initial mechanism to the substitute mechanism. To be effective, this transfer must take place without awareness. Also discussed is the substitution of self-esteem regulation mechanisms across different self-domains versus within a single self-domain. Current theory suggests that substitution might be more effective within domain; that is, it is better to bolster the aspect of self that has been threatened. It is suggested here, however, that substitution across self-domain might be relatively resilient and easier to accomplish.
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Two studies were conducted to assess the hypothesis that shifting individuals’ base of self-esteem to more stable, intrinsic self-attributes would reduce psychological defensiveness in the form of self-handicapping attributions and conformity. In Study 1, participants visualized an individual who liked them contingently or noncontingently, or who was neutral toward them, and then made attributions for an impending test performance. Participants who visualized the noncontingently accepting other made fewer self-handicapping attributions. In Study 2, partici pants wrote about an intrinsic self-attribute, an achievement, or a neutral event and then evaluated several abstract art paintings while knowing how other participants purportedly rated the paintings. Participants for whom the intrinsic self was primed conformed less to others’ judgments relative to achievement self-primed and control participants. Discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for understanding the connection between self-esteem and defensiveness.
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We examined the extent to which individual differences in authenticity and mindfulness predicted verbal defensiveness. Participants first completed measures of authenticity [Kernis, M. H., & Goldman, B. M. (2006). A multicomponent conceptualization of authenticity: Theory and research. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 38 (pp. 283–357).] and mindfulness [Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822–848]. Within the next few weeks, participants completed the Defensive Verbal Behavior Assessment [Feldman Barrett, L., Williams, N. L., & Fong, G. T. (2002). Defensive verbal behavior assessment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 776–788]. Their responses to potentially self-threatening experiences subsequently were rated for the extent to which they reflected openness and honesty as opposed to defensiveness. Our findings indicated that authenticity and mindfulness correlated positively and that higher scores on each related to lower levels of verbal defensiveness. Additional analyses revealed that the relation between authenticity and verbal defensiveness was indirect, mediated by mindfulness. These findings support the view that higher authenticity and mindfulness relate to greater tendencies to engage self-relevant information in a relatively non-defensive manner.
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The authors propose an interpersonal social-cognitive theory of the self and personality, the relational self, in which knowledge about the self is linked with knowledge about significant others, and each linkage embodies a self-other relationship. Mental representations of significant others are activated and used in interpersonal encounters in the social-cognitive phenomenon of transference (S. M. Andersen & N. S. Glassman, 1996), and this evokes the relational self. Variability in relational selves depends on interpersonal contextual cues, whereas stability derives from the chronic accessibility of significant-other representations. Relational selves function in if-then terms (W. Mischel & Y. Shoda, 1995), in which ifs are situations triggering transference, and thens are relational selves. An individual's repertoire of relational selves is a source of interpersonal patterns involving affect, motivation, self-evaluation, and self-regulation.
Article
Three studies examined the possibility that being liked intrinsically by others - for who one is - reduces self-esteem defense, whereas being liked for what one has achieved does not. All 3 studies contrasted the effects on self-esteem defense of liking based on intrinsic or achievement-related aspects of self. Study 1 showed that thoughts of being liked intrinsically reduced defensive bias toward downward social comparison. Study 2 demonstrated that being liked for intrinsic aspects of self reduced participants' tendency to defensively distance themselves from a negatively portrayed other. Study 3 revealed that being liked for intrinsic aspects of self encouraged a preference for upward over downward counterfactuals for a negative event. In all 3 studies, similar reductions in defensiveness were not found when liking was based on achievements. Discussion focuses on implications for understanding the functional value of different bases of self-worth.
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Two studies used the self-concordance model of healthy goal striving (K. M. Sheldon & A. J. Elliot, 1999) to examine the motivational processes by which people can increase their level of well-being during a period of time and then maintain the gain or perhaps increase it even further during the next period of time. In Study I, entering freshmen with self-concordant motivation better attained their 1st-semester goals, which in turn predicted increased adjustment and greater self-concordance for the next semester's goals. Increased self-concordance in turn predicted even better goal attainment during the 2nd semester, which led to further increases in adjustment and to higher levels of ego development by the end of the year. Study 2 replicated the basic model in a 2-week study of short-term goals set in the laboratory. Limits of the model and implications for the question of how (and whether) happiness may be increased are discussed.
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Søren Kierkegaard's The Sickness unto Death is widely recognized as one of the most significant and influential works of Christian philosophy written in the nineteenth century. One of the cornerstones of Kierkegaard's reputation as a writer and thinker, the book is also a masterclass in the art of interpretation. In critical thinking, interpretation is all about defining and clarifying terms - making sure that everyone is on the same page. But it can also be about redefining terms: showing old concepts in a new light by interpreting them in a certain way. This skill is at the heart of The Sickness unto Death. Kierkegaard's book focuses on the meaning of "despair" - the sickness named in the title. For Kierkegaard, the key problem of existence was an individual's relationship with God, and he defines true despair as equating to the idea of sin - something that separates people from God, or from the idea of a higher standard beyond ourselves. Kierkegaard's interpretative journey into the ideas of despair, sin and death is a Christian exploration of the place of the individual in the world. But its interpretative skills inspired generations of philosophers of all stripes - including notorious atheists like Jean-Paul Sartre.
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I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
Article
Investigated the hypothesis that in some contexts people may give more weight to their cognitive-affective reactions than to their behavioral reactions when making self-evaluative inferences. 69 university students who participated as Ss were administered the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventories and a self-concept inventory. In 1 of 2 contexts, Ss recalled either their positive cognitive-affective reactions, their positive behavioral reactions, or their unspecified positive reactions to several standard situations; these were reactions that had led them to feel a special appreciation for their own personal qualities. The experimental context of these recollections involved either private rehearsal, in which Ss simply thought about their past reactions, or public expression, in which they presented their reactions verbally while being tape-recorded. The impact of Ss' recollections on their subsequent self-esteem in each context was assessed. Results show that recalling positive cognitive-affective reactions had a significantly greater impact on self-esteem than did recalling positive behavioral or unspecified reactions when these recollections took place in a private, nonevaluative context, but not when they took place in the more public context in which the perspective of outside observers was likely to have been salient. Findings are discussed in terms of theories of self-inference processes and of actor–observer differences. Probable limitations of the findings are outlined. (73 ref)
Article
Two studies examine the relations of self-complexity (Linville, 1987) and the authenticity of self-aspects to well being. Study 1 results show that self-complexity is largely unrelated to well being, whereas the authenticity of the self-aspects that constitute it is associated with greater well being. Study 2 uses a two-week, prospective design to replicate Linville's finding of a buffering effect of complexity on the negative outcomes associated with stressful events. In addition, study 2 results revealed either null or negative relations of complexity to well being, whereas the authenticity of self-aspects was again positively related to well being. The findings are discussed with respect to the meaning of self-complexity for personality functioning, and the importance of having one's self-aspects be authentic.
Article
In 2 studies, college students evidenced differing levels of the "Big-Five" traits in different roles, supporting social-contextualist assumptions regarding trait expression. Supporting organismic theories of personality, within-subject variations in the Big Five were predictable from variations in the degree of psychological authenticity felt in different roles. In addition, two concepts of self-integrat ion or true selfhood were examined: 1 based on high consistency of trait profiles across roles (i.e., lowself-concept differentiation; E. M. Donahue, R. W. Robins, B. W. Roberts, & O. P. John, 1993) and 1 based on high mean levels of authenticity felt across roles. The 2 self-integration measures were found to be independent predictors of psychological and physical well-being indicating that both self-consistency and psychological authenticity are vital for organized functioning and health.
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Four studies examined perceived sources of self-knowledge. In Study 1, participants asked to generate the sources of their self-knowledge reported most frequently that they acquire self-knowledge through self-reflection (e.g., thinking about the past, thinking about the future) and social mechanisms (i.e., social comparison and reflected appraisal). In Studies 2 and 3, participants ranked and rated the relative importance of these sources. The results indicated that, although social sources were perceived to have an influence on the self, self-reflection was perceived to be the more crucial determinant of self-knowledge. Study 4 found individual differences in ratings of source importance : Participants high in private self-consciousness rated self-reflection as more important to self-knowledge than participants low in private self-consciousness, whereas high self-monitors rated social sources as more important to self-knowledge than low self-monitors. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Article
The present research extended the applicability of cognitively based and affectively based self-inference processes into the domain of specific trait inferences. In particular, the salience of past thoughts and feelings or past behaviors vis-a-vis religious matters was manipulated by inducing subjects to agree with a set of cognitive-affective or behavioral statements that were either proreligious or antireligious in nature. Subjects' subsequent self-inferences in the domain of religiousness were then assessed. Relatively “pure” cognitive-affective and behavioral statements were utilized, and differences in the abstractness of these two types of items were controlled by means of identical generic content. Nevertheless, results showed that salient cognitive and affective reactions had more of an impact on subjects' self-inferences than did salient behavioral reactions. Hence, this phenomenon cannot be accounted for by differences in the relative abstractness of thoughts and feelings in contrast to overt be...
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George Lakoff and Mark Johnson take on the daunting task of rebuilding Western philosophy in alignment with three fundamental lessons from cognitive science: The mind is inherently embodied, thought is mostly unconscious, and abstract concepts are largely metaphorical. Why so daunting? "Cognitive science--the empirical study of the mind--calls upon us to create a new, empirically responsible philosophy, a philosophy consistent with empirical discoveries about the nature of mind," they write. "A serious appreciation of cognitive science requires us to rethink philosophy from the beginning, in a way that would put it more in touch with the reality of how we think." In other words, no Platonic forms, no Cartesian mind-body duality, no Kantian pure logic. Even Noam Chomsky's generative linguistics is revealed under scrutiny to have substantial problems. Parts of Philosophy in the Flesh retrace the ground covered in the authors' earlier Metaphors We Live By , which revealed how we deal with abstract concepts through metaphor. (The previous sentence, for example, relies on the metaphors "Knowledge is a place" and "Knowing is seeing" to make its point.) Here they reveal the metaphorical underpinnings of basic philosophical concepts like time, causality--even morality--demonstrating how these metaphors are rooted in our embodied experiences. They repropose philosophy as an attempt to perfect such conceptual metaphors so that we can understand how our thought processes shape our experience; they even make a tentative effort toward rescuing spirituality from the heavy blows dealt by the disproving of the disembodied mind or "soul" by reimagining "transcendence" as "imaginative empathetic projection." Their source list is helpfully arranged by subject matter, making it easier to follow up on their citations. If you enjoyed the mental workout from Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works , Lakoff and Johnson will, to pursue the "Learning is exercise" metaphor, take you to the next level of training. --Ron Hogan Two leading thinkers offer a blueprint for a new philosophy. "Their ambition is massive, their argument important.…The authors engage in a sort of metaphorical genome project, attempting to delineate the genetic code of human thought." -The New York Times Book Review "This book will be an instant academic best-seller." -Mark Turner, University of Maryland This is philosophy as it has never been seen before. Lakoff and Johnson show that a philosophy responsible to the science of the mind offers a radically new and detailed understandings of what a person is. After first describing the philosophical stance that must follow from taking cognitive science seriously, they re-examine the basic concepts of the mind, time, causation, morality, and the self; then they rethink a host of philosophical traditions, from the classical Greeks through Kantian morality through modern analytical philosophy.
Article
Nothing is so insufferable to man as to be completely at rest, without passions, without business, without diversion, without effort. Then he feels his nothingness, his forlornness, his insufficiency, his weakness, his emptiness. (Pascal, The Pensees, 1660/1950, p. 57). As far as we know humans are the only meaning-seeking species on the planet. Meaning-making is an activity that is distinctly human, a function of how the human brain is organized. The many ways in which humans conceptualize, create, and search for meaning has become a recent focus of behavioral science research on quality of life and subjective well-being. This chapter will review the recent literature on meaning-making in the context of personal goals and life purpose. My intention will be to document how meaningful living, expressed as the pursuit of personally significant goals, contributes to positive experience and to a positive life. THE CENTRALITY OF GOALS IN HUMAN FUNCTIONING Since the mid-1980s, considerable progress has been made in under-standing how goals contribute to long-term levels of well-being. Goals have been identified as key integrative and analytic units in the study of human Preparation of this chapter was supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. I would like to express my gratitude to Corey Lee Keyes and Jon Haidt for the helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.
Chapter
INTRODUCTION, To be or not to be, that is the question. To thine own self be true. –Shakespeare Playwrights, musicians, philosophers, and psychologists have long concerned themselves with notions of authenticity. Shakespeare, for example, wrote often of themes related to being “true” to oneself and presenting a “false” self to others. Philosophers such as Lacan, Nietzsche, and Rorty take aim at the construct of authenticity by denying the existence of a coherent, unified self. The Grateful Dead, purveyors of “psychedelic” enlightenment, exhort their diehard fans to “wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.” The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests that they participated in were said to promote “higher states of consciousness” that elevated participants' understanding of their roles in the material and “cosmic” universes. What all these conceptions of authenticity have in common is that authenticity is rooted in subjective internal experiences that have implications for one's self-knowledge, understanding, and their relationship to behavior. In this chapter, we present a new multicomponent conceptualization of psychological authenticity and discuss its implications for a wide range of psychological and interpersonal functioning. We begin with a brief historical overview of the authenticity construct. Of necessity, this review is highly selective, focusing entirely on the psychological literature. Following this overview, we present our conceptualization of authenticity. We then report findings from our research that bears on this conceptualization.
Article
This study examined relationship styles of self-focused autonomy (SFA), other-focused connection (OFC), and mutuality in adult couples, examining the links among relationship style, power, authenticity, and psychological health. Participants included 251 couples in long-term heterosexual relationships, with each partner completing a separate survey questionnaire (N = 502). Most participants reported having a mutual style, and in half of the couples both partners were mutual. No sex differences in style were found. Results showed that styles were related to power in the relationship: SFA was linked to dominance, OFC to subordinance, and mutuality to equality, although power also depended on partners' styles. OFC participants most often described their style as false-self behavior. Inauthenticity was linked to a lack of power and to poorer psychological outcomes. Mutual participants had the best outcomes, especially those with mutual partners.
Article
This paper presents the findings of four studies on the rules of friendship. Studies I and 11 established the strength of endorsement of 43 friendship rules in British, Italian, Hong Kong and Japanese samples. Study Ill found differences in reported rule-keeping between sustained and lapsed friendships by self and other, and between sustained relationships rated high and low in quality. Study IV examined the role of rule breaking in friendship breakdown, and dissolution of friendship was attributed to the breaking of a number of our endorsed rules. Six rules were endorsed as very important in Study I and distinguished between behaviour in lapsed and current friendships; also relationship breakdown was related to failure to keep to these rules. They dealt mainly with the exchange of rewards and intimacy. Dissolution of friendships was also attributed to the breaking of third party rules.
Article
The purpose of this study was to develop and test a latent-variable model to assess the relationship between self-expression and depressive symptoms in late life. Data from a nationwide survey of older adults (n = 1,013) provided empirical support for the following theoretical linkages embedded in this conceptual framework: (1) Higher levels of educational attainment are associated with greater self-expression, (2) older people who find avenues for self-expression are more likely to develop senses of meaning in life, (3) older adults who find senses of meaning in life are more likely to feel grateful, and (4) elders who feel grateful are less likely to experience symptoms of depression.
Article
Self-affirmation processes are being activated by information that threatens the perceived adequacy or integrity of the self and as running their course until this perception is restored through explanation, rationalization, and/or action. The purpose of these constant explanations (and rationalizations) is to maintain a phenomenal experience of the self-self-conceptions and images as adaptively and morally adequate—that is, as competent, good, coherent, unitary, stable, capable of free choice, capable of controlling important outcomes, and so on. The research reported in this chapter focuses on the way people cope with the implications of threat to their self-regard rather than on the way they cope with the threat itself. This chapter analyzes the way coping processes restore self-regard rather than the way they address the provoking threat itself.
Article
Three studies investigated whether affirming the self intrinsically (vs. extrinsically) would reduce defensive concerns and improve cognitive and social functioning in evaluative contexts. Study 1 found that an intrinsic self-affirmation reduced self-handicapping and increased performance on a threatening serial subtraction task relative to an extrinsic self-affirmation. Study 2 replicated the effects of Study 1, showing that an intrinsic (vs. extrinsic) self-affirmation increased women's performance on a math test under conditions that arouse stereotype threat. A third study extended these findings to threatening social contexts. Focusing participants on intrinsic (vs. extrinsic) aspects of self reduced thoughts about social rejection prior to an evaluative social interaction. Discussion focused on the need for further investigation into the multifaceted nature of the self and self-esteem.
Article
Two studies examined the role of religious commitment in moderating the relationship between positive affect (PA) and meaning in life. In Study 1, Sample 1, religiosity was found to moderate the relationship between naturally occurring PA and meaning in life, showing that high levels of religiosity attenuated the effects of PA on meaning in life. In Study 1, Sample 2, religiosity similarly moderated the effects of induced mood on meaning in life. In addition, this pattern of results was shown to be unique to meaning in life compared to another life domain (life satisfaction). In Study 2, subliminally priming Christians with positive religious words (e.g., “Heaven”) was further shown to weaken the association between PA and meaning in life, whereas subliminal primes of negative religious words (e.g., “hell”) weakened the association between religious commitment and meaning in life. A competition of cues model is proposed to account for these effects.
Article
The chapter presents the two very different basic processes that link attitudes and behavior, along with variants that amount to a mixture of the essentials of each process. Conditions that promote one process or the other also are discussed in the chapter. This discussion of mixed models illustrates the complexity of the role of spontaneous and deliberative processing to understand the manner in which attitudes influence behavior. The basic difference between the two types of models of the attitude-behavior process centers on the extent to which deciding on a particular course of action involves conscious deliberation about a spontaneous reaction to one's perception of the immediate situation. An individual may analyze the costs and benefits of a particular behavior and, in so doing, deliberately reflect on the attitudes relevant to the behavioral decision. These attitudes may serve as one of possibly many dimensions that are considered in arriving at a behavior plan, which may then be enacted.