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Self-presentational success in daily social interaction

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In a study on self-presentation in everyday social encounters, 100 undergraduate students described their social interactions for two weeks using a variant of the Rochester Interaction Record. For each interaction, participants described their self-presentational goals and perceived success in achieving these goals. A series of multilevel random coefficient modeling analyses found that wanting to be liked was a particularly important goal. Moreover, goals and perceived success depended strongly on the type of situation people were in. For example, people wanted to appear competent during work-related interactions but interesting and attractive during romantic interactions. Overall, participants were relatively satisfied with their self-presentations. Self-presentational goals were more important in interactions with close others (family and friends) than with strangers or acquaintances. Furthermore, interactions with close others were considered especially successful. Participants felt least successful about their self-presentational performance during work related interactions and most successful about their performance during romantic interactions. Overall, social goals were more important than performance goals, and more of the variance in aspirations and perceived success was within-person (i.e., across interactions) than between-persons.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA 2: Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany 3: Fontane Klinik, Germany

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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