When does introspection bear fruit? Self-reflection, self-insight, and interpersonal choices

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1993 Jan;64(1):35-43. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.64.1.35.


Whereas earlier research suggests that the fruits of introspection may promote error and misperception, this research suggests that thinking about the self may sometimes foster self-insight. Participants who had opportunity to reflect on themselves were particularly inclined to display self-insight by (a) rating feedback that confirmed their self-views as self-descriptive (Experiments 1 and 3), (b) rating themselves in ways that matched their friends' appraisals of them (Experiment 2), and (c) choosing a self-verifying interaction partner rather than an overly favorable one (Experiment 4). These effects were moderated by the nature of the introspective activity (Experiment 3) and by its duration (Experiment 4). Implications of these findings for the nature of self-knowledge and the worlds people construct around themselves are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Perception*
  • Thinking*