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Br J Soc Psychol. 1991 Jun;30 ( Pt 2):97-112.

The representation of self in multidimensional cognitive space.

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1
Department of Psychology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218.

Abstract

A number of studies point to the efficiency with which people process self-relevant trait information. The derivative models of self-cognition account for many judgement latency and memory effects. These models tend to limit themselves, however, by neglecting the cognitive representation of the traits themselves. In contrast, research on implicit personality theory has focused on the cognitive representation of trait information, but has not always addressed the relationship between self and the judged traits. These two research domains were linked in an effort to specify the cognitive representation of self. A method for locating individuals and traits within the same spatial representation was developed and validated in two studies. In Study 1, subjects exhibited superior recall for traits located closest to self. In Study 2, subjects rapidly selected which of two traits better or least described self. 'Better' judgements were faster with increasing closeness to self of selected traits whereas 'least' judgements were faster with increasing closeness to self of non-selected traits, supporting the view of self as fixed anchor in self-relevant decision making. Taken as a whole, these two studies provided further evidence for the self as an evaluative organization of knowledge.

PMID:
1878765
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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