Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

2020 Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford


  • Astrid SchützEmail author
  • Theresa Fehn
  • Roy F. Baumeister
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1998



The self is a structured but dynamic system that comprises the perceptions and evaluations of one’s own personal features as well as the processes and mechanisms operating with these items.


The ability to reflect upon and evaluate one’s own acting, feeling, and thinking is what distinguishes humans from other species. People form a mental construct of being a unique entity, direct attention at their own psychological processes, evaluate these processes, and often attempt to regulate them (Leary and Tangney 2012). Even though the term “self” is not rare in everyday conversations, defining what “the self” is, exactly, has been a challenge. In 1890, William James introduced a distinction between two aspects of the self that was to influence decades of theorists and researchers: the “I,” the self as a subject and regulatory agent, and, the self as object or concept, the “Me.” The “I” is the knower;...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Astrid Schütz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Theresa Fehn
    • 2
  • Roy F. Baumeister
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BambergBambergGermany
  2. 2.University of BambergBambergGermany
  3. 3.Florida State University, TallahasseeFLUSA
  4. 4.University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Chris Ditzfeld
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA