Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
School of Communication
Caleb T Carr
Identity shift theory suggests individuals who self-present through mediated channels see a change in their self-perception towards the qualities contained within said mediated self-presentations. The present study sought to expand identity shift research through examining effects of multiple, diametrically opposed self-presentations in order to assess how individuals resolved potential cognitive dissonance caused by self-presentations dissimilar with an individual’s extant self-presentations and to determine if identity shift effects occur across oppositional self-presentations. An experimental study (N = 56) asked participants to self-present diametrically opposed traits (conscientiousness/unconscientiousness) as opposed to one, singular trait, in order to assess resulting identity shift effects. Results demonstrated less-conscientious individuals experienced an identity shift towards being more conscientious, audience expectations did not affect identity shift, and strength of held self-belief did not moderate identity shift effects. These results suggest individuals may resist identity shifting towards negatively-valanced traits, audience evaluation may not affect identity shift when not presented as feedback, and mediated self-presentations may allow for greater psychological comfort when self-presenting oppositional traits as compared to face-to-face self-presentations.
Valov, Jacob John, "I Contain Multitudes: Identity Shift Effects of Diametrically Opposed Self-Presentations" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 1475.