Unconscious unease and sef-handicapping: Behavioral consequences of individual differences in implicit and explicit self-esteem

  • Spalding L
  • Hardin C
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In contrast to measures of explicit self-esteem, which assess introspectively accessible self-evaluations, measures of implic- it self-esteem assess the valence of unconscious, introspectively inac- cessible associations to the self. This experiment is the first to document a relationship between individual differences in implicit self-esteem and social behavior. Participants completed either a self- relevant or a self-irrelevant interview, and were then rated by the interviewer on their anxiety. When the interview was self-relevant, apparent anxiety was greater for participants low in implicit self- esteem than for participants high in self-esteem; implicit self-esteem did not predict anxiety when the interview was self-irrelevant. Explic- it self-esteem did not predict apparent anxiety in either interview, but did predict participants’ explicit self-judgments of anxiety. Self-handi- capping about interview performance was greater for participants low in both explicit and implicit self-esteem than for those high in these measures. The experiment provides direct evidence that effects of implicit and explicit self-esteem may be dissociated.

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  • Leah R. Spalding

  • Curtis D. Hardin

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