With a little help from my friends: Understanding how social networks influence the pursuit of the ideal self

Elaine Ooi Yan Cheung*, Wendi L Gardner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The present investigation examined how people utilize their social networks when pursuing the ideal self. Participants who spent time with social partners who possessed their desired ideal self characteristic experienced movement toward their ideal self when the partner provided behavioral affirmation (eliciting behaviors consistent with the ideal self), but experienced movement away from their ideal self when the partner provided perceptual affirmation (perceiving them as if they already possessed the desired characteristic). High self-esteem participants were especially likely to seek out social partners of the latter type, who saw them as their ideal selves, but did not offer behavioral assistance. This research highlights the importance of social networks for understanding the conditions in which social partners promote vs. hinder ideal self progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-682
Number of pages21
JournalSelf and Identity
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • Ideal self
  • Michelangelo effect
  • social networks
  • social relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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