Strangers to Ourselves

The study of self-knowledge—how well people know their own attitudes‚ beliefs‚ feelings‚ motives‚ and traits—has had a checkered history in psychology but has become a well-researched topic with important theoretical and practical implications. Researchers have examined three types of self-knowledge: recalling one’s past self (e.g.‚ past attitudes and beliefs)‚ knowing one’s present self (e.g.‚ current internal states)‚ and predicting one’s future self (e.g.‚ emotional reactions to future events). I will discuss the limits of each type of self-knowledge‚ why people sometimes fail to know themselves‚ and the consequences (good and bad) of poor self-knowledge.

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