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Self-regulation plays a critical role in self-presentation. The present research further examines the association between self-regulation and self-presentation by examining the role of self-regulation in self-enhancement. Research examining self-enhancement consistently finds it to be costly for self-presentation if done so in a blatant (as opposed to subtle) manner. Therefore, a common challenge faced regarding self-presentation is how to balance the desire to have and maintain a positive sense of self (i.e., self-enhance) while concurrently making a positive impression on others. Avoiding blatant self-enhancement, though, requires self-regulatory resources and depleting such resources should therefore influence the ability to fend off blatant self-enhancement. Specifically, depleting regulatory resources should be associated with higher levels of blatant self-enhancing strategies but should not influence subtle self-enhancement strategies. To test this, participants were randomly assigned to a self-regulatory depletion condition or a control condition. All participants completed a thought-listing task for 6-minutes. Participants in the depletion condition were given prior instructions asking them to control their thoughts during the task. Participants in the control condition underwent the same task with no additional instructions. Next, participants completed multiple self-presentation measures: modesty, blirtatiousness (i.e., unrestrained speaking or quick responding), and subtle and blatant forms of self-enhancement. We found no association between depletion and modesty or blirtatiousness, but we did find an effect between depletion and self-enhancement. Specifically, and as predicted, participants in the depleted condition reported significantly higher levels of blatant self-enhancement compared to the control group, but the groups did not differ in subtle self-enhancement. Our results show that participants with intact self-regulatory resources are able to control their approach to self-enhancement, perhaps in an effort to control self-presentation. Depleting self-regulatory resources, however, is associated with an increase in using self-enhancement strategies that can compromise self-presentation.
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Eisenhauer, Greg Alfred, "Examining the effects of self-regulation on self-enhancement." (2015). Stander Symposium Posters. 569.
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