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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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Jack Bauer, University of Dayton
Dan P. McAdams, Northwestern University
American Psychological Association Annual Convention
New Orleans, August 2006
• 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 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
• 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”
• “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”
• 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
• 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?
• 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