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Self-Transcendence in Life Stories and the Development of a Quiet Ego. Jack Bauer, University of Dayton Dan P. McAdams, Northwestern University American Psychological Association Annual Convention New Orleans, August 2006. Noisy Ego v. Quiet Ego. • Noisy ego is defensive

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self transcendence in life stories and the development of a quiet ego

Self-Transcendence in Life Stories and the Development of a Quiet Ego

Jack Bauer, University of Dayton

Dan P. McAdams, Northwestern University

American Psychological Association Annual Convention

New Orleans, August 2006

noisy ego v quiet ego
Noisy Ego v. Quiet Ego

• Noisy ego is defensive

• Defends a restricted perception of self

• Routinely self-protective or defending in-group

• Concerned with status, approval, appearances

• Quiet ego is not (so) defensive

• Applies broad self-other vision to context

• Routinely open to experience & viewpoints

• Concerned with underlying meaning & process

life stories and growth
Life Stories and Growth

• Life story

• Identity in narrative form

• Story of what’s meaningful in one’s life

• Growth story

• Life story that places meaning in development

• Learning/insight growth stories & ED: r = .41 - .66

• Self-transcendence: Quiet-ego kind of growth

transcendence in growth stories
Transcendence in Growth Stories

• Transcendent Insight

• Identify with heightened knowledge of self as unified with others, society, humanity, spirituality

• “Greater vision,” “bigger picture”

• Transcendent Experience

• Identify with deepened sense of self as unified with others, society, humanity, spirituality

• “Felt connected / bonded / one with”

examples of transcendent insight
Examples of Transcendent Insight

• “My first trip to Europe… Things changed. I became a bird freed from a cage… I had seen the enlarged panorama [of my life] from the peak”

• “I was by the lake at night…. I was able to formulate all my values and beliefs into one comprehensive system…. At that moment I understood and more importantly felt my relationship with the rest of the living world”

method
Method

• Participants

• T1: Freshmen & Seniors (n = 145)

• T2: 3 years later (n = 87)

• Ego Development (T1 & T2): WUSCT

• Well-Being (T1 & T2): SWLS

• Narratives (T1): High, low, turning points

• Coded for transcendent insight & experience

findings transcendence ed

.25*

.24**

EDT1

T–InsightT1

EDT2

.18

Findings: Transcendence & ED

• Transcendent Insight at Time 1 correlated…

• with ED at T1: r = .25*

• with ED at T2 (3 yrs. later): r = .29**

*p < .05

**p < .01

• Transcendent Experience and ED: p’s > .10

quiet ego and happiness
Quiet Ego and Happiness

• ED does not correlate with well-being

• Yet many quiet-ego qualities correlate w/ well-being

• Experiential growth stories & WB: r = .36 - .54

• Transcendent experience?

findings transcendence wb

WBT1

.40***

WBT2

T–Exp.T1

.27**

Findings: Transcendence & WB

• Transcendent Experience at Time 1 and…

• WB at T1: r = .23*

• WB at T2 (3 yrs. later): r = .35**

*p < .05

**p < .01

***p < .001

• Transcendent Insight and WB: p’s > .10

conclusions
Conclusions

• The quiet ego uses self-transcendence to construct life story

• Narrative self-transcendence has developmental implications for quiet ego

• Narratives foster personality development?

• Intentional self-development of a quiet ego?

• Cognitive and experiential facets of QE

thanks
April Sakaeda

Jen Pals

Steven Barger

Douglas Robinette

Lindsay Richerson

Julie Adelman

Brooke Smith

Richard Schloe

Foley Family Foundation

Templeton Foundation

Thanks