Identity processing style and self-definition: effects of a priming manipulation
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The present research examined relationships between identity processing style and the self-attributes individuals use to define themselves. Identity style refers to relatively stable differences in how individuals construct and reconstruct their sense of identity. Participants with different identity styles were randomly assigned to one of three priming conditions designed to increase the availability of personal, social, or collective self-attributes. The results indicated that participants with an informational identity style accessed significantly more attributes than their normative and diffuse-avoidant counterpart in the social and collective priming conditions but not in the personal condition. However, across conditions, informational types were most likely to use personal attributes when defining their sense of identity. Normative and diffuse-avoidant types defined themselves, respectively, in terms of collective or social attributes. The findings are discussed in terms of a social-cognitive view of identity formation.
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