The Dynamic Interplay Between Perceived True Self-Knowledge and Decision Satisfaction
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The present research used multiple methods to examine the hypothesis that perceived true self-knowledge and decision satisfaction are inextricably linked together by a widely held "true-self-as-guide" lay theory of decision making. Consistent with this proposition, Study 1 found that participants rated using the true self as a guide as more important for achieving personal satisfaction than a variety of other potential decision-making strategies. After establishing the prevalence of this lay theory, the remaining studies then focused on examining the proposed consequent relationship between perceived true self-knowledge and decision satisfaction. Consistent with hypotheses, 2 cross-sectional correlational studies (Studies 2 and 3) found a positive relationship between perceived true self-knowledge and decision satisfaction for different types of major decisions. Study 4 used daily diary methods to demonstrate that fluctuations in perceived true self-knowledge reliably covary with fluctuations in decision satisfaction. Finally, 2 studies directly examined the causal direction of this relationship through experimental manipulation and revealed that the relationship is truly bidirectional. More specifically, Study 5 showed that manipulating perceived knowledge of the true self (but not other self-concepts) directly affects decision satisfaction. Study 6 showed that this effect also works in reverse by manipulating feelings of decision satisfaction, which directly affected perceived knowledge of the true self (but not other self-concepts). Taken together, these studies suggest that people believe the true self should be used as a guide when making major life decisions and that this belief has observable consequences for the self and decision making.
author list (cited authors)
Schlegel, R. J., Hicks, J. A., Davis, W. E., Hirsch, K. A., & Smith, C. M.