The impact of imagined audiences on self-appraisals

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The concept of the relational self suggests that simply imagining significant others produces shifts in self-assessments consistent with one's roles and experiences with those others. To test relevant hypotheses, college women (from the United States) imagined a significant other as part of a visualization task. After imagining parents as compared to peers, participants described themselves as less sensual, dominant, and adventurous (Experiment 1), a pattern consistent with other women's ratings of how they actually felt with those others. Supporting the idea that self-esteem differences emerge in more evaluative contexts, self-esteem moderated self-assessments on key dimensions (Experiment 2). After imagining a romantic other but not a best friend, self-esteem was directly related to women's self-ratings of sensuality, physical attractiveness, and being at ease.

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