Myers (2009) defines self-presentation as “the act of expressing oneself and behaving in ways designed to create a favorable impression or an impression that corresponds wot one’s ideals.
Some common questions that can lead to a study based on self-presentation include:
- What is the purpose of self-presentation?
- In what situations would it be appropriate or inappropriate?
The next question that arises is, how do you develop a research project based on a topic on self-presentation? One way to look at impression management and self-presentation is to observe and analyze how people manipulate or even fake their behavior or actions to improve a situation.
Let's discuss a study conducted by Mueller-Hanson, Heggestad, and Thornton III to examine why people tend to fake their responses on personality or job-fit questionnaires.
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Myers, D. (2008). Social psychology (9th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Mueller-Hanson, R., Heggestad, E., & Thornton III, G. (2006). Individual differences in impression management: An exploration of the psychological process of underlying faking. Psychology Science, 48(3),288–312.
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Study on Self-Presentation Introduction In 2006, Mueller-Hanson, Heggestad, and Thornton III used 489 undergraduate students from an introductory psychology class as participants for their study on self-presentation. Credit was given to students for participation in the study. Preparation The participants were divided into groups of 40 and were first given background questionnaires. Several research questions were posed in the form of hypotheses, such as “Faking will increase if there is an ability and opportunity to fake.” The responses to the questions provided information on the personality profile of the participants, which was used by the researchers in the next phase of the study. Procedure Each participant was then asked to go through a guided imagery exercise that made them imagine their dream job. Next, they were given a job-fit questionnaire. Finally, they were asked to self-evaluate their responses to the questionnaire. Findings This study shed some light on faking of behavior as an inappropriate means of impression management. The researchers stated that “personality test scores may be thought of as a strategic attempt by the test-taker to present himself or herself in a certain light to suit an occasion rather than as a reflection of one's ‘true’ disposition” (p. 289).
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