ERIC Number: ED226289
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Self Symbolizing and Self Reflection.
Gollwitzer, Peter M.; And Others
Symbolic self-completion theory suggests that people who are committed to a certain self-definitional goal, e.g., "psychologist,""parent,""dancer," are not willing to give up this goal when facing a shortcoming. Such individuals often engage in self-symbolizing or positive self-descriptions designed to coverup the shortcoming. To examine whether it is the non-reflective condition of the self-symbolizer which allows him to report positive self-descriptions when actual evidence suggests weakness, female undergraduates (N=55) committed to various self-definitions, received or did not receive negative feedback suggesting that their personality would hinder success in their self-definitional realms. All subjects were then asked to report on their self-perceived standing within their self-definitional realms; half of the negative feedback subjects made these self-descriptions in front of a mirror. Results showed that negative feedback subjects reported more positive self-descriptions than no feedback subjects only when not facing a mirror. In addition, negative feedback-no mirror subjects showed the lowest self-report validity. The findings suggest that positive self-descriptions serving self-definitional needs are exerted in an impulsive, non-reflective manner, and that self-reflection inducing devices such as the mirror can hinder self-symbolizing. (Author/PAS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: West Germany
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (90th, Washington, DC, August 23-27, 1982). For related document, see CG 016 492.