What Can a Looking Glass Reflect? Trait Observability Predicts What Feedback is Incorporated into Self-Knowledge

23 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2011

See all articles by Sheena S. Iyengar

Sheena S. Iyengar

Columbia Business School - Management Division

Alexandra Suppes

Columbia University

Date Written: January 10, 2011

Abstract

In this work we suggest that trait observability is an important predictor of what kind of feedback will be incorporated into self-knowledge. In two studies we find evidence that feedback about ones own observable traits, referencing social or physical characteristics, becomes incorporated into self-knowledge. In our work, feedback on less observable traits, referencing internal states or competency, was not incorporated into self-knowledge. This pattern holds for both positive and negative feedback, regardless of whether the feedback is explicitly or implicitly provided. Importantly, this pattern holds when we both controlled for how consensual the feedback was, and when we allowed feedback consensuality to vary naturally. Our work suggests that trait observability is an important dimension in understanding what feedback is likely to be incorporated into self-knowledge.

Suggested Citation

Sethi-Iyengar, Sheena S. and Suppes, Alexandra, What Can a Looking Glass Reflect? Trait Observability Predicts What Feedback is Incorporated into Self-Knowledge (January 10, 2011). Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 11-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1920423 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1920423

Sheena S. Sethi-Iyengar (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Management Division ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Alexandra Suppes

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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