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Self-Enhancement, Self-Verification, or Self-Assessment? The Intricate Role of Trait Modifiability in the Self-Evaluation Process

Dirk Dauenheimer (), Dagmar Stahlberg (), Sandra Spreemann and Constantine Sedikides
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Dirk Dauenheimer: Lehrstuhl fuer Sozialpsychologie, Universitaet Mannheim, Postal: Seminargebaeude A5, D-68131 Mannheim
Dagmar Stahlberg: Lehrstuhl fuer Sozialpsychologie, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Postal: Seminargebaeude A5, D-68131 Mannheim
Sandra Spreemann: Lehrstuhl für Sozialpsychologie, Universität Mannheim, Postal: A 5,6 , D-68131 Mannheim
Constantine Sedikides: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, Postal: Davie Hall

No 99-10, Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications from Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim

Abstract: What is the interplay of three self-evaluation motives (i.e., self-enhancement, self-assessment, self-verification) in the affective, cognitive, and behavioral domain? Does modifiability of self-views (i.e., assertiveness) moderate motive activation in each domain? Participants (Ps) (a) rated their assertiveness and their perceived modifiability of assertiveness, (b) took an alleged assertiveness test and received bogus performance feedback, and (c) completed measures of affective, cognitive, and behavioral responding. Indeed, trait modifiability was associated with a unique pattern of motive activation in each domain. Affective responses were moderated by trait modifiability, as Ps who received negative feedback felt worse when they regarded their self-views as unmodifiable than modifiable. Cognitive responses were driven by the self-verification motive in the case of unmodifiable self-views, and by the self-enhancement motive in the case of modifiable self-views. Behavioral responses were driven by the self-assessment motive, especially in the case of modifiable self-views.

Pages: 31 pages
Date: 1998-07-17
Note: Financial Support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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