Personal Change and the Continuity of Identity

Abstract

The current research examines what types of change are perceived as allowable versus disallowable in the self while still maintaining a sense of personal continuity. We find that overall, improvements are seen as more allowable than worsening or unspecified change, although this difference varies in magnitude based on the centrality of the trait being considered. Additionally, valence interacts with expectations of change, such that the differential impact of positive versus negative change on self-continuity is largest when positive change is expected, but is attenuated when negative change is expected.


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