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Possible Selves

Possible Selves The concept of possible selves is introduced to complement current conceptions of self-knowledge. Possible selves represent individuals' ideas of what they might become, what they would like to become, and what they are afraid of becoming, and thus provide a conceptual link between cognition and motivation. Possible selves are the cognitive components of hopes, fears, goals, and threats, and they give the specific self-relevant form, meaning, organization, and direction to these dynamics. Possible selves are important, first, because they function as incentives for future behavior (i.e., they are selves to be approached or avoided) and second, because they provide an evaluative and interpretive context for the current view of self. A discussion of the nature and function of possible selves is followed by an exploration of their role in addressing several persistent problems, including the stability and malleability of the self, the unity of the self, self-distortion, and the relationship between the self-concept and behavior. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Psychologist American Psychological Association

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1986 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0003-066x
eISSN
1935-990X
DOI
10.1037/0003-066X.41.9.954
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The concept of possible selves is introduced to complement current conceptions of self-knowledge. Possible selves represent individuals' ideas of what they might become, what they would like to become, and what they are afraid of becoming, and thus provide a conceptual link between cognition and motivation. Possible selves are the cognitive components of hopes, fears, goals, and threats, and they give the specific self-relevant form, meaning, organization, and direction to these dynamics. Possible selves are important, first, because they function as incentives for future behavior (i.e., they are selves to be approached or avoided) and second, because they provide an evaluative and interpretive context for the current view of self. A discussion of the nature and function of possible selves is followed by an exploration of their role in addressing several persistent problems, including the stability and malleability of the self, the unity of the self, self-distortion, and the relationship between the self-concept and behavior.

Journal

American PsychologistAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Sep 1, 1986

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