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  • ANRV296-PS58-13 ARI 17 November 2006 1:29

    Motivational and EmotionalAspects of the SelfMark R. LearyDepartment of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham,North Carolina 27708; email: leary@duke.edu

    Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2007. 58:31744

    First published online as a Review inAdvance on September 5, 2006

    The Annual Review of Psychology is online athttp://psych.annualreviews.org

    This articles doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085658

    Copyright c 2007 by Annual Reviews.All rights reserved

    0066-4308/07/0203-0317$20.00

    Key Words

    self-awareness, self-enhancement, self-verification, self-expansion,self-conscious emotions, motivation, emotion, guilt, shame, pride,self-evaluation

    AbstractRecent theory and research are reviewed regarding self-related mo-tives (self-enhancement, self-verification, and self-expansion) andself-conscious emotions (guilt, shame, pride, social anxiety, and em-barrassment), with an emphasis on how these motivational and emo-tional aspects of the self might be related. Specifically, these motivesand emotions appear to function to protect peoples social well-being.The motives to self-enhance, self-verify, and self-expand are partlyrooted in peoples concerns with social approval and acceptance, andself-conscious emotions arise in response to events that have real orimagined implications for others judgments of the individual. Thus,these motives and emotions do not operate to maintain certain statesof the self, as some have suggested, but rather to facilitate peoplessocial interactions and relationships.

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  • ANRV296-PS58-13 ARI 17 November 2006 1:29

    Contents

    MOTIVATIONAL ANDEMOTIONAL ASPECTSOF THE SELF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318

    SELF-MOTIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319SELF-ENHANCEMENT . . . . . . . . . . 319

    Self-Serving Attributions . . . . . . . . . 320The Better-than-Average Effect . . . 321Implicit Self-Enhancement . . . . . . . 321The Bias Blind Spot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322Two Debates Regarding

    Self-Enhancement . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322SELF-VERIFICATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . 324SELF-EXPANSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326THE THEORETICAL VIABILITY

    OF SELF-MOTIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . 327THE SELF AND EMOTION . . . . . . 329

    Self-Conscious Emotions . . . . . . . . . 329Guilt and Shame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330Social Anxiety and

    Embarrassment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331Pride . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 332

    THE LINK BETWEENSELF-MOTIVES ANDEMOTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 332The Co-option of Self-Awareness

    for Motivation and Emotion . . . 332Interpersonal Motives and

    Emotions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333CONCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 334

    MOTIVATIONAL ANDEMOTIONAL ASPECTSOF THE SELF

    Many of the philosophers, psychologists, andsociologists who founded the social and be-havioral sciences were keenly interested intopics related to self and identity. James,Cooley, Mead, Blumer, and others viewedself-thought and self-representation as abridge between the social events that occurredoutside of the individual (including both in-terpersonal interactions and society morebroadly) and the individuals own thoughts,

    behaviors, and emotions. This interest dwin-dled with the advent of behaviorism and,with the exception of work by the humanis-tic psychologists, the scientific study of theself lay dormant for nearly 50 years. Then,in the 1970s and 1980s, the study of selfand identity regained respectability, fueledpartly by the cognitive revolution, which ledto cognitive models of self-awareness, self-conceptualization, and self-regulation (e.g.,Carver & Scheier 1981, Duval & Wicklund1972, Markus 1977).

    Following this resurgence of interest, re-search on self-processes proceeded alongtwo relatively distinct lines. One line fo-cused primarily on cold, cognitive as-pects of the self such as self-construals,self-schematic processing, self-organization,self-categorization, self and memory, self-reference effects, and executive processes. Al-though some of this work examined emotionsand motives as well, the processes under inves-tigation were primarily cognitive. The otherline of research focused on hot motivationaland emotional self-processes such as thoseinvolved in self-esteem, self-enhancement,self-verification, and self-conscious emotions.These two literatures on self-processes areboth huge and burgeoning, so the focus ofthis review is limited to recent work on mo-tivational and emotional aspects of the self.The reader is referred to previous reviews byBanaji & Prentice (1994) and Ellemers et al.(2002), as well as to Leary & Tangney (2003a),for coverage of other areas.

    Much of the popularity of the self asan explanatory construct stems from theo-ries that attribute peoples thoughts or be-haviors to self-motives such as motivesfor self-enhancement, self-verification, self-expansion, or self-assessment. Although dif-fering in specifics, these approaches assumethat human thought and action are affectedby motives to maintain or promote certainkinds of self-images. At the same time, psy-chologists have long known that peoples self-thoughts are strongly linked to their emo-tions. Researchers who study self-processes

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  • ANRV296-PS58-13 ARI 17 November 2006 1:29

    have been particularly interested in theso-called self-conscious emotionsshame,guilt, embarrassment, social anxiety, andpridealthough, as I discuss below, virtuallyevery emotion, not only self-conscious emo-tions, can be evoked by self-reflection.

    Motives and emotions are inextricablylinked. Fulfilled and unfilled motives usuallyevoke emotional reactions, and emotions areoften reactions to fulfilled or thwarted motives( Johnson-Laird & Oatley 1992). Yet, the lit-eratures on self-related motives and emotionshave developed independently, with little dis-cussion of the relationships between them.I try to rectify this situation at the end ofthe article. However, I begin by examiningthe three self-motives that have garnered themost attention, followed by a look at the self-conscious emotions.

    SELF-MOTIVES

    Theorists have posited the existence of anumber of self-motives, including motivesfor self-enhancement, self-verification, self-expansion, self-appraisal, self-improvement,self-actualization, and self-transcendence.Unfortunately, progress in studying self-processes, including self-relevant motives, hasbeen hampered by vagueness and inconsis-tency in how writers have used the term self.Self has been used to refer to several distinctphenomena, including aspects of personal-ity, the cognitive processes that underlie self-awareness, a persons mental representationof him- or herself, an executive control cen-ter that mediates decision-making and self-regulation, and the whole person (for discus-sions of problems with the definition of self,see Leary & Tangney 2003b, Olson 1999).

    In the case of self-motives, some conceptsrefer to mechanisms by which people createor maintain certain self-images, self-beliefs, orself-evaluations in their own minds. For exam-ple, self-enhancement involves the desire tomaintain the positivity of ones self-concept,and self-verification is the desire to confirmones existing self-views. In contrast, other

    Self-motive: anyinclination that isaimed towardestablishing ormaintaining aparticular state ofself-awareness,self-representation,or self-evaluation

    Self-enhancement:the desire tomaintain or increasethe positivity (ordecrease thenegativity) of onesself-concept; thedesire to maintain,protect, and enhanceones self-esteem

    terms refer to motives involving the individualas a person. For example, self-improvementis not a motive to improve the psychologi-cal self but rather a tendency toward increas-ing the persons capabilities. Likewise, self-actualization involves the hypothesized move-ment toward becoming a fully functioningperson. Neither self-improvement nor self-actualization are aimed toward changing theself per se (as opposed to the person), althoughthe self may indeed be involved.

    In my view, a self-motive is an inclina-tion that is focused on establishing or main-taining a particular state of self-awareness,self-representation, or self-evaluation. Thus,self-enhancement and self-verification mightqualify as self-motives because they involvea tendency for the psychological self tomaintain a certain state (of positivity or consis-tency). However, self-improvement and self-actualization would not be regarded as self-motives because, although they may involveself-reflection, they are not about the self.And, to complicate matters further, at leastone concept, self-expansion, has been used torefer both to a motive to expand ones be-havioral efficacy (which is not a self-motiveaccording to my definition) and to expandthe breadth of ones self-concept (which doesseem

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