The Effect of Recalling Past Positive and Negative Actions on Implicit and Explicit Self-Esteem.
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Self-esteem plays a significant role in a person’s overall well being and understanding self-esteem can be instrumental in constructing different therapeutic approaches. The way in which a person relates to their past actions can also be key in understanding a person’s self-esteem. This study examined the effect of journaling about past behaviors on both implicit and explicit self esteem. Participants were asked to journal about past positive, negative, or neutral actions and were then tested to determine both their implicit and explicit self-esteem. It was hypothesized that participants who reflected on a past morally positive choice that they have made will have a more positive implicit and explicit self image than those who reflect on a past negative choice that they have made. The results showed that there was no correlation between implicit and explicit self-esteem. Additionally, self-esteem did not vary based on condition, and neither did the emotional content present in the response. However, exploratory analyses showed that participants who gave a reason for the action that they did had a marginally higher self-esteem than those who did not give a reason. Additionally, participants who were asked to recall past negative actions used significantly more words referring to the self than those in the positive and neutral conditions. Understanding the effects of the ways in which a person relates to past events is key in understanding self-esteem as a whole.
Senior honors thesis
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