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The New Unconscious$
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Ran R. Hassin, James S. Uleman, and John A. Bargh

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195307696

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307696.001.0001

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The Unconscious Relational Self

The Unconscious Relational Self

Chapter:
(p.421) 16 The Unconscious Relational Self
Source:
The New Unconscious
Author(s):

Susan M. Andersen

Inga Reznik

Noah S. Glassman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307696.003.0017

The notion that previous knowledge is brought to bear in extracting and constructing meaning is fundamental in social cognition. This process can be understood in terms of mental representations of self and of others that give both idiosyncratic and shared meaning to experience. This chapter characterizes the relational self as social-cognitive and draws on personality and clinical theory in making the assumption that significant others play a critical role in both self-definition and self-regulation. It assesses idiosyncratic knowledge representations in memory and traces their influence in affect and motivation. The transference process is at the heart of the concept of the relational self. This social-cognitive model involves mental representations of significant others that operate in accord with basic processes of transient and chronic accessibility governing the operation of social constructs. Such processes require little attention or volition, which is the case for many cognitive processes, as well as many involving motivation, affect, and the self, as refinements of social-cognitive models suggest. Hence, the processes by which the relational self operates can be considered largely unconscious.

Keywords:   social cognition, mental representations, relational self, significant others, self-definition, self-regulation, unconscious, knowledge representations, affect, motivation

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