Strategic self-presentation and the avoidance of aversive events: Antecedents and consequences of self-enhancement and self-depreciation
Two experiments examined the use of strategic self-presentation as a means of avoiding an aversive event, as well as the effects of such self-presentations on the presenter's subsequent self-evaluation. The studies employed a job simulation paradigm in which subjects were led to believe that the more or less well-adjusted of two workers would perform an onerous task for the "company". Subjects rated themselves on adjectives relevant to adjustment, then selected adjectives to show the supervisor who would ostensibly make task assignments. In both experiments, subjects self-depreciated to a greater extent when the well-adjusted worker was to perform the onerous task. As expected, strategic self-presentation was observed in Experiment 1 only when the supervisor's power was high. Results of Experiment 2 showed that subjects who were low versus high in self-esteem did not differ in their use of strategic self-presentation. As predicted, subjects who were induced to self-enhance subsequently evaluated theselves more favorably than those who were induced to self-depreciate, but Experiment 2 showed that this effect occurred only for subjects who were low in self-esteem. © 1990.
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