Two experiments examine the strategic re-negotiation of social identities as a method of alleviating threats to self-evaluation. Participants were given a partner who shared one, and had one non-shared identity. After completing a self-relevant or non-self-relevant task, participants received either no feedback or learned that they had performed poorly compared to the partner. Participants showed identity distancing in response to being outperformed on a self-relevant task, but affiliation in response to being outperformed on a non-self-relevant task. This effect was reversed when participants were given the opportunity to self-affirm after the feedback. Overall, the results provide evidence that individuals are quite adept at altering their self-categorizations and that self-evaluation serves an important role in identity selection. Results are discussed in relation to the substitutability of self-esteem maintenance mechanisms and self-definition.
|Translated title of the contribution||The renegotiation of social identities in response to a threat to self-evaluation maintenance|
|Pages (from-to)||39 - 47|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Social Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2007|