Sunday, July 25, 2010

This Is What You Want, This Is What You Get

"In sociology and social psychology, Impression Management is a goal-directed conscious or unconscious process in which people attempt to influence the perceptions of other people about a person, object or event; they do so by regulating and controlling information in social interaction. It is usually used synonymously with self-presentation, in which a person tries to influence the perception of their image."

In one of those one in a million cab rides late Wednesday night, I fell into a discussion with Ivan, my driver for the moment. I don't really remember how we got there, but he began to tell me about the theory of Impression Management. The nuances of Impression Management are fascinating - Hitler was a fantastic Impression Manager and your waiter last night also did his share to allow you to enjoy your meal. Ivan was a godsend. Or maybe he was just managing my impression of him...?

Do you like me? No? Well, what about me?
"There are two main motives that govern self-presentation. One is instrumental: we want to influence others and gain rewards. There are three instrumental goals. The first is Ingratiation, when we try to be happy and display our good qualities so that others will like us. The second is Intimidation, which is aggressively showing anger to get others to hear and obey us. The third is Supplication, when we try to be vulnerable and sad so people will help us and feel bad for us.

The second motive of self-presentation is expressive. We construct an image of ourselves to claim personal identity, and present ourselves in a manner that is consistent with that image. If we feel like this is restricted, we exhibit reactance. We try to assert our freedom against those who would seek to curtail our self-presentation expressiveness. A classic example is the idea of the “preacher’s daughter;” the notion that her suppressed personal identity and emotions cause an eventual backlash at her family and community.

Concerning the strategies followed to establish a certain impression, the main distinction is between defensive and assertive strategies. Whereas defensive strategies include behaviors like avoidance of threatening situations or means of self-handicapping, assertive strategies refer to more active behavior like the verbal idealization of the self, the use of status symbols or similar practices."

Ingratiation, Intimidation, Supplication.

Sound familiar?

"Impression management can distort the results of empirical research that relies on interviews and surveys, a phenomenon commonly referred to as "social desirability bias"."

No shit.

I'm a confident liar.

Cover Star: Cat.
Headlining Band: PIL.

James M. Graham, Website
James M. Graham, Tumblr
James M. Graham, Monograph

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