Embodied metaphor and the "true" self: Priming entity expansion and protection influences intrinsic self-expressions in self-perceptions and interpersonal behavior

Mark J. Landau, Matthew Vess, Jamie Arndt, Zachary K. Rothschild, Daniel Sullivan, Ruth Ann Atchley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drawing on conceptual metaphor perspectives and embodied cognition theories, we proposed that the intrinsic self-concept-who people think they truly are-is represented metaphorically as a physical entity, and that expressions of the intrinsic self-concept are therefore conceptualized in terms of entity activity. Using an empirical strategy for experimentally investigating conceptual metaphor, we tested whether exposure to pictorial primes depicting entity expansion and protection produces metaphor-consistent effects on self-perceptions and interpersonal behaviors expressive of the intrinsic self-concept. In Study 1, participants primed with entity expansion perceived themselves as more self-actualized and less concerned with satisfying extrinsic contingencies of self-esteem. Study 2 showed that this effect was mediated by the increased accessibility of the concept entity expansion. In Study 3, expansion-primed participants conformed less to other people's opinions. In Study 4, participants primed with entity protection were less willing to disclose intimate, but not non-intimate, self-knowledge to a stranger.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cognitive process
  • Conceptual metaphor
  • Embodied cognition
  • Interpersonal behavior
  • Intrinsic self-concept
  • Self-perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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