Psychological Perspectives on the Self - Vol. 4

Psychological Perspectives on the Self - Vol. 4

Psychological Perspectives on the Self - Vol. 4

Psychological Perspectives on the Self - Vol. 4

Excerpt

This volume of original essays describing psychological approaches to the study of the self is the fourth in the series. As with earlier volumes, my primary aim has been to present the best of recent conceptual and empirical advances concerning the self. The continuing proliferation of work in this area testifies to its inherent interest and, I think, centrality to psychological science. The first two volumes were devoted to social and personality approaches to the self. The third volume had a developmental emphasis. The fourth is more eclectic, but focuses mainly on social psychological perspectives on the self.

Edited volumes are frequently criticized for a lack of cohesiveness and comprehensiveness. This may go with the territory because editors are unable to obtain the cooperation of all the authors originally contacted for a particular volume. Consequently, cohesiveness and comprehensiveness rarely characterize edited volumes.

What the present volume may lack in cohesiveness, however, it may make up in inspiring new insights and future research. Once I gathered the chapters, I recognized that the contributors were, in some cases, presenting not only distinctive, but conflicting proposals. Instead of trying to smooth out these differences (perhaps "consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds"), I decided it would be better to allow the contradictions among chapters to remain. Perhaps more than any of its predecessors, this volume can serve as grist for the dissertation mills.

To take but one example, Jonathon Brown proposes that self-esteem is rooted in affective processes in a "top-down" type manner. This approach is quite different from the conventional, "bottom-up" view, that self-esteem is founded on the perception that one possesses certain qualities. According to Brown, people with high self-esteem have a global, general liking for themselves that is . . .

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