Annu Rev Psychol. 2022 Aug 12. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-032420-032236. Online ahead of print.


Self-continuity is the subjective sense of connection between one's past and present selves (past-present self-continuity), between one's present and future selves (present-future self-continuity), or among one's past, present, and future selves (global self-continuity). We consider the motivational character of the three forms of self-continuity, their regulatory properties, and the internal or external factors that consolidate them. We also review their consequences for attitudes and judgments or decisions, motivation, intentions and behavior, and psychological and physical health. We further the detail psychological and behavioral benefits of self-discontinuity (i.e., a sense of disconnect among temporal selves). We next turn to the brain regions that are activated synchronously with self-continuity. We consider developmental perspectives on self-continuity, discuss collective self-continuity (along with its consequences and regulatory properties), and elaborate on cultural differences in self-continuity. This inaugural Annual Reviews chapter demonstrates the breadth, excitement, and sense of synergy among self-continuity researchers and points to promising research directions. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology, Volume 74 is January 2023. Please see for revised estimates.

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  • Review