Psychological Science 2017, 40(6) 1456-1463 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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Keywords
The fundamental dimensions of social cognition
Agency
Communion
Self-esteem
Perspectives
Authors
WU Shi
REN Xi
JIANG Ke
DU Jie
YANG Juan-*
PubMed
Article by Wu,s
Article by Ren,x
Article by Jiang,k
Article by Du,j
Article by Yang,J.*

Prediction of Self-Esteem by Agency: Intrapersonal Perspective vs. Interpersonal Perspective

Abstract

Both agency and communion were described as the basic form of human existence. Previous studies have explored that self-assessed agency is a stronger predictor of self-esteem than self-assessed communion. Nevertheless, the existing studies mainly focused on the intrapersonal perspective, while the relationship between agency and self-esteem from the interpersonal perspective was still unknown. It has long been suggested that self-esteem reflects the need for both self-respect and respect from others. Based on previous literature, this experiment investigated the relationship between the fundamental dimensions of social cognition and self-esteem under the different evaluative perspectives. we conducted two studies and all of the participants were measured by Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale. A total of 160 trait adjectives were selected from established Chinese Adjective Words System for Fundamental Dimensions of Social Cognition, including 40 positive agentic words (e.g., intelligent, competent), 40 negative agentic words (e.g., foolish, clumsy), 40 positive communal words (e.g., warm, friendly) and 40 negative communal words (e.g., cold-blooded, solitary). Upon arrival, participants completed Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale. They then completed the main tasks conducted on the desk-top computer running by the E-Prime software (2.0). The intrapersonal perspective task asked participants to assess “Does the adjective describe yourself?” by pressing on the button. The interpersonal perspective task asked participants to evaluate “Do you agree the evaluation about you from your classmates?”. In study 1, we adopted a within-subjects design to confirm the relationship between the fundamental dimensions of social cognition and self-esteem both from the two perspectives. 36 students were required to complete the task of the evaluation about agency and communion both from intrapersonal perspective and interpersonal perspective. In study 2, we also conducted experiment to confirm the relationship between the fundamental dimensions and self-esteem both from the two perspectives, but the experiment was adopted a mixed design. We recruited 240 students in all. Half of the participants were required to complete the evaluation about agency and communion from the intrapersonal perspective, while the other half completed the task from the interpersonal perspective. Results showed that: (1) Analysis of variance of repeated measures indicated that ratings of communion were higher than ratings of agency both from intrapersonal perspective and interpersonal perspective[F(1,35)=61.63, p<.001, ηp2=.64], and results found a significant interaction between perspectives and dimension[F(1,35)=10.04, p<.01, ηp2=.22]. (2) But multiple hierarchical regression analysis showed that self-esteem was dominated by agency only from the intrapersonal perspective. Further, we found that the rating of agency from the intrapersonal perspective was a significant full intermediate variable between the rating of agency from the interpersonal perspective and the self-esteem scores. (3) Specifically, when we adopted a mixed design to rule out the disadvantage of within-subjects design, results proved that ratings of communion were higher than ratings of agency[F(1,238)=175.97, p<.001, ηp2=.43], and self-esteem was dominated by agency both from the two perspectives. Although we did not find ratings of communion were higher than ratings of agency, results proved that self-esteem was also dominated by agency. In sum, it proved that the primacy of communion is over agency and self-esteem is dominated by agency both from intrapersonal perspective and from interpersonal perspective. The present findings were consistent with the previous research and also suggested that the dominance of agency on self-esteem stably existed regardless of perspectives.

Keywords The fundamental dimensions of social cognition   Agency   Communion   Self-esteem   Perspectives  
Received 2016-11-22 Revised 2017-04-13 Online: 2017-11-20 
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Email: valleyqq@swu.edu.cn
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