Seeing close others as we see ourselves: One's own self-complexity is reflected in perceptions of meaningful others

  • Brown C
  • Young S
  • McConnell A
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Abstract

Although past research has established a correspondence between the content of knowledge about the self and close others, the current work evaluated the prediction that the self-concept also influences the structure of these perceptions. Specifically, we expected greater correspondence in the complexity of mental representations between the self and others included in the self. In Study 1, we found that self-complexity was related to the perceived complexity of a close other and that this outcome did not reflect a general tendency to perceive the world in a systematically complex or simple fashion (i.e., cognitive complexity). In Study 2, we found that the correspondence between self-complexity and complexity of representations of others increased for individuals more included in the self. Finally in Study 3, we observed that experimentally manipulating inclusion of other in the self resulted in perceived structural similarity between representations of the self and others. Implications of self-concept representation for social relationships are discussed. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cognitive complexity
  • Mental representations
  • Relationships
  • Self-complexity
  • Self-concept

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