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Memorable messages as guides to self-assessment of behavior: a replication and extension diary study

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An investigation of memorable messages as guides to self-assessment of daily behavior was conducted. Respondents were asked to keep diaries for five days. Each day participants were asked to recall one behavior that violated and one behavior that exceeded their personal expectations for themselves. After recalling the situation, participants were asked to recall the memorable messages, if any, which came to mind when self-assessing these behaviors. This method used the self-assessment of prior behavior as the entry point to a feedback loop. Control theory predicts that within the feedback loop behaviors are compared with internal principles that come from memorable messages. This comparison is predicted to result in either a positively or negatively valenced evaluation of the behavior if it either exceeds or violates personal standards represented as internal principles. The findings include the categories of behaviors that exceeded or violated personal expectations, the memorable messages, and the primary sources of the memorable messages that were recalled during the comparison process. In addition, comparisons were made between this research effort and a previous study that asked participants to self-assess more extreme cases of behavior and the memorable messages associated with that process.

Keywords: Control Theory; Diary Study; Memorable Messages; Self Assessment of Daily Behaviour

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2004


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