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Front Psychol. 2011 Nov 4;2:312. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00312. eCollection 2011.

In search of our true selves: feedback as a path to self-knowledge.

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Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO, USA.


How can self-knowledge of personality be improved? What path is the most fruitful source for learning about our true selves? Previous research has noted two main avenues for learning about the self: looking inward (e.g., introspection) and looking outward (e.g., feedback). Although most of the literature on these topics does not directly measure the accuracy of self-perceptions (i.e., self-knowledge), we review these paths and their potential for improving self-knowledge. We come to the conclusion that explicit feedback, a largely unexamined path, is likely a fruitful avenue for learning about one's own personality. Specifically, we suggest that self-knowledge might be fully realized through the use of explicit feedback from close, knowledgeable others. As such, we conclude that the road to self-knowledge likely cannot be traveled alone but must be traveled with close others who can help shed light on our blind spots.


feedback; introspection; personality; self-knowledge

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