Feeling like you know who you are: perceived true self-knowledge and meaning in life

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2011 Jun;37(6):745-56. doi: 10.1177/0146167211400424. Epub 2011 Mar 14.


The essence of who a person really is has been labeled the "true self," and an emerging area of research suggests that this self-concept plays an important role in the creation of a fulfilling existence. Three studies investigate the role of the subjective feeling that one possesses knowledge of one's true self in meaning in life judgments. Consistently, the perception of availability of true self-knowledge (operationalized as the metacognitive experience of ease in describing one's true self) predicted meaning in life judgments over and above other potentially related constructs such as mood and self-esteem. Conversely, the subjective availability of knowledge of how one actually behaves (i.e., one's actual self) was unrelated to meaning in life judgments. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Missouri
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept*
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult