Psych Central

Comments on
Why You’re Not Who You Think You Are

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor

Why Youre Not Who You Think You AreIn his fascinating book Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World, psychology professor and researcher Sam Sommers, Ph.D, reveals the big impact context has on public behavior — how we think about others and even how we think about ourselves.

According to Sommers, “Even the most private of perceptions — our very sense of self — is shaped by where we are and who we’re with, though we may resist this notion.”

Our Iffy Introspection

Complete this statement five times: “I am _____________.” This is a short version of the “Twenty Statements Test.” If you were given this same test tomorrow or a few years from now or in a different place, do you think your answers would be the same?

Sommers doesn’t think so. He says that how we view ourselves actually changes over time and location. Even small changes in context can affect our responses in a big way.

2 Comments to
Why You’re Not Who You Think You Are

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  1. So what?

  2. The degree that others impact us can be changed.

    When we make decisions about who we are – conscious and decisive decisions — we will adhere more to those self-defined definitions of self and be less swayed by those around us.

    Someone who has decided that they are going to be kindness and love in the world will show compassion even if in a group where others are following the lead of being demeaning to someone of lower status.

    We have the ability to decide for ourselves. Most do not exercise that choice and leave themselves swaying in the winds.

    Making such decisions does not preclude fun (like the hula hoops noted in the article). It depends on what decisions we make. We can be peace and love in the world and be fun and have fun. We really do get to decide.
    ♡ Jeanine

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