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The why's the limit: curtailing self-enhancement with explanatory introspection

The why's the limit: curtailing self-enhancement with explanatory introspection
The why's the limit: curtailing self-enhancement with explanatory introspection
Self-enhancement is linked to psychological gains (e.g., subjective well-being, persistence in adversity) but also to intrapersonal and interpersonal costs (e.g., excessive risk taking, antisocial behavior). Thus, constraints on self-enhancement may sometimes afford intrapersonal and interpersonal advantages. We tested whether explanatory introspection (i.e., generating reasons for why one might or might not possess personality traits) constitutes one such constraint. Experiment 1 demonstrated that explanatory introspection curtails self-enhancement. Experiment 2 clarified that the underlying mechanism must (a) involve explanatory questioning rather than descriptive imagining, (b) invoke the self rather than another person, and (c) feature written expression rather than unaided contemplation. Finally, Experiment 3 obtained evidence that an increase in uncertainty about oneself mediates the effect.
0022-3506
783-824
Sedikides, Constantine
9d45e66d-75bb-44de-87d7-21fd553812c2
Horton, Robert S.
d7fcb13a-501a-4a56-afd4-caf5de442c29
Gregg, Aiden P.
1b03bb58-b3a5-4852-a177-29e4f633b063
Sedikides, Constantine
9d45e66d-75bb-44de-87d7-21fd553812c2
Horton, Robert S.
d7fcb13a-501a-4a56-afd4-caf5de442c29
Gregg, Aiden P.
1b03bb58-b3a5-4852-a177-29e4f633b063

Sedikides, Constantine, Horton, Robert S. and Gregg, Aiden P. (2007) The why's the limit: curtailing self-enhancement with explanatory introspection Journal of Personality, 7, (4), pp. 783-824.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Self-enhancement is linked to psychological gains (e.g., subjective well-being, persistence in adversity) but also to intrapersonal and interpersonal costs (e.g., excessive risk taking, antisocial behavior). Thus, constraints on self-enhancement may sometimes afford intrapersonal and interpersonal advantages. We tested whether explanatory introspection (i.e., generating reasons for why one might or might not possess personality traits) constitutes one such constraint. Experiment 1 demonstrated that explanatory introspection curtails self-enhancement. Experiment 2 clarified that the underlying mechanism must (a) involve explanatory questioning rather than descriptive imagining, (b) invoke the self rather than another person, and (c) feature written expression rather than unaided contemplation. Finally, Experiment 3 obtained evidence that an increase in uncertainty about oneself mediates the effect.

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Published date: August 2007

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 45049
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/45049
ISSN: 0022-3506
PURE UUID: 6b224426-3c4c-4531-8ef1-dcd0cc408281

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Date deposited: 26 Mar 2007
Last modified: 30 Aug 2017 04:42

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Contributors

Author: Robert S. Horton
Author: Aiden P. Gregg

University divisions

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