The Ideal Self and State Authenticity
Power, Katherine Emilia
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The current study investigated the effect of priming people with alignment or distance to ideal self attributes on their feelings of authenticity. The effect of priming participants with self-irrelevant alignment or distance to ideal attributes was also explored, to test whether these manipulations might respectively increase or lower state authenticity, or whether state authenticity would only be affected by self-relevant priming. As expected, discrepant conditions were associated with lower state authenticity than non-discrepant conditions. Participants primed with self-relevant alignment to ideal self attributes felt more authentic than participants in any other condition, a relationship which was partially mediated by negative affect. Contrary to expectations, participants in the self-relevant discrepant condition experienced more authenticity, on average, than participants in the self-irrelevant discrepant condition, but the positive main effect of self-relevancy on state authenticity became non-significant once individual differences were added as covariates, while the interaction between self-relevancy and discrepancy became significant. The study is consistent with the idea that we feel more like our real selves when we feel more like our ideal selves.