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Testing a Hierarchical Model of Self-Knowledge

Terry L. Schell, Stanley B. Klein and Susan H. Babey
Psychological Science
Vol. 7, No. 3 (May, 1996), pp. 170-173
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40062935
Page Count: 4
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Testing a Hierarchical Model of Self-Knowledge
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Abstract

A priming procedure (e.g., Klein, Loftus, Trafton, & Fuhrman, 1992) was used to test a hierarchical model of self-knowledge. According to this model, people simultaneously hold multiple representations of themselves that differ both in their context specificity and in the type of knowledge of which they consist. Specifically, context-independent self-knowledge is assumed to be represented abstractly without reference to any particular behaviors, whereas the representation of context-dependent self-knowledge includes knowledge of one's behavior in specific situations. Our results support a hierarchical model: Subjects accessed abstract knowledge when describing their context-independent personality characteristics, but accessed behavioral episodes when describing themselves in a specific context. Possible implications of this research are discussed, as is the relation of a hierarchical model of self-knowledge to a mixed model of self-knowledge (e.g., Klein & Loftus, 1993b).

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