The general self-concept prime

  • Keri Kettle Keri Kettle

Each of us has a self-concept – the set of characteristics that reflect the type of person we are (Wakslak et al. 2008) – within which exist specific self-schema and self-identities that guide ourbehavior in different situations. It is well established that particular constructs and identities can be differentially activated (primed) through a variety of means, such as exposure to words(Bargh, Chen, and Burrows 1996), objects (Berger and Fitzsimons 2008), and images (McKee, Nhean, Hanson, and Mase 2006). Little is known, however, about whether – or how – multiple aspects of one’s self-concept can be differentially or simultaneously primed by a single intervention. This dissertation introduces the general self-concept prime – the notion that a single intervention (such as signing one’s name) can lead to the activation of one or more distinctaspects of one’s self-concept. In three essays, I examine the general self-concept priming effect of signing one’s name, investigate how a general self-concept prime influences performance and other behaviors, and identify other interventions that serve as general self-concept primes.

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