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Self-Presentation and the Phenomenal Self: On the Stability and Malleability of Self-Conceptions

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Part of the Springer Series in Social Psychology book series (SSSOC)

Abstract

In the Woody Allen film Zelig, the central character is the quintessential self-presenter, “a human chameleon,” who took on the characteristics, mannerisms, and even the appearance of those with whom he interacted. Although Leonard Zelig’s self-presentational strategy was a device designed to protect his true “self” from rejection, the viewer gradually learns that Zelig’s public ploys left him with no self to protect. To a lesser extent most people are a little like Zelig in that on many occasions their strategic self-presentations do alter their self-conceptions. In our work, my colleagues and I consistently observe what we have termed the carry-over effect (Jones, Rhodewalt, Berglas, & Skelton, 1981; Rhodewalt & Agustsdottir, 1986; see also Gergen, 1967). That is, when subjects engage in strategic self-presentations in order to create a specific impression of themselves in another, there is typically a shift in subjects’ self-conceptions in the direction of the self-presentational episode.

Keywords

Cognitive Dissonance Performance Feedback Experimental Social Psychology Depressed Subject Differential Accessibility 
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