The effects of self-esteem and ego threat on decision making


IT TAKES a constant stream of interpersonal decision making for people to be liked by others and to like themselves at the same time. Although often being liked and liking oneself go hand in hand, at times people make choices to give up on being liked in order to restore a positive self-image or to temporarily have a less positive self-image to prevent social exclusion. Ego threat and concomitant emotions play a role in interpersonal decision making among people who are low and high in self-esteem. The literature on threats to the self, feelings about the self, and interpersonal perceptions offers theoretical and empirical evidence in support of the nonintuitive conclusion that people with high self-esteem do not fare any better than people with low self-esteem in terms of how others feel about them. In fact, high self-esteem people become less likeable when they feel threatened. If changes in decision making underlie changes in behavior, decision making patterns among high and low self-esteem people under conditions of threat or nonthreat may be important. Copyright © 2007 by Russell Sage Foundation. All rights reserved.

In: Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making?: A Hedgefoxian Perspective, (9781610445436), pp. 157-182,