Self-Presentation essay example:
The ability to manage impressions is an integral part in everyday life as individuals are able to alter people’s perceptions according to how one sees or wants to be seen by others. Self-presentation, also referred to as impression management, implies that an individual is monitoring how one is being perceived and evaluated by others and has considered the self-presentational implications of one’s behavior (Leary, Nezlek, Downs, Radford-Davenport, Martin, & McMullen, 1994). The amount of attention that people devote to their public images varies across situations and individuals. Some people are oblivious of others’ impression of them. On the other hand, there are people who are highly attuned to others evaluations and devote enormous amounts of effort to create the correct impression. A majority of people usually operate somewhere between these two bounds in that they tend to monitor at a moderate level on how they come across to others. However, in many situations people who are not monitoring or thinking about the impressions they are making can become quickly aware of others’ evaluative reactions (Leary & Kowalski, 1990).
The discrepancy between why in certain situations people are motivated to affect how others perceive them, and other times not is referred to as impression motivation (Tetlock & Manstead, 1985). Leary and Kowalski (1990) described impression motivation as being affected by three primary sets of factors: the perceived goal relevance of the person’s impressions, the value of the person’s desired goals, and the discrepancy between the person’s desired and current images.
Goal-relevance of impressions
The more important the attainment of a goal is to one’s self image, the more motivated people are to manage impressions to achieve that goal. People become more concerned with how others perceive them. Ferris and Porac (1984) researched some of the factors that would determine how relevant one’s impressions are to the fulfillment of their goals. Their results indicated that people set higher goals when others were present. In other words, the more public a behavior is, the more significant it is to manage impressions to accomplish that goal.
However, there are private behaviors that some people feel is necessary to self-present. Leary and Kowalski (1990) stated, “people may privately prepare to perform impression-relevant behaviors in public” (pg. 38). In some instances, people self-present in public settings so often that the actions become habitual, which may eventually carry over into their private behaviors….