Uncovering the Multifaceted-Self in the Domain of Negative Traits: On the Muted Expression of Negative Self-Knowledge

Wing Yee Cheung, Tim Wildschut, Constantine Sedikides, Brad Pinter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The multifaceted-self effect is the ascription of more traits to self than others. Consensus is that this effect occurs for positive, but not negative, traits. We propose that the effect also occurs for negative traits when they can be endorsed with low intensity ("I am a little bit lazy"), thereby circumventing self-protection concerns. In Experiment 1, the multifaceted-self effect occurred for positive, but not negative, traits on a high-intensity trait-endorsement measure. However, it occurred irrespective of trait valence on a low-intensity trait-endorsement measure. In Experiment 2, the multifaceted-self effect occurred for positive, but not negative, traits on a strong trait-endorsement measure. However, it occurred irrespective of trait valence on a diminuted trait-endorsement measure-a finding conceptually replicated in Experiment 3. In Experiment 4, participants spontaneously adopted diminutive terms ("a little bit") when describing their negative traits. Individuals reconcile negative self-knowledge with self-protection concerns by expressing it in muted terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-525
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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