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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.

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Presentation on theme: "Self-Transcendence in Life Stories and the Development of a Quiet Ego Jack Bauer, University of Dayton Dan P. McAdams, Northwestern University American."— Presentation transcript:

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

2 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 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

3 Quiet Ego & Ego Development Adapted from Loevinger (1976, 1993) Quiet Ego Noisy Ego

4 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 = Self-transcendence: Quiet-ego kind of 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 = Self-transcendence: Quiet-ego kind of growth

5 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” 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”

6 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” “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”

7 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 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

8 Findings: Transcendence & ED Transcendent Insight at Time 1 correlated… with ED at T1: r =.25* with ED at T2 (3 yrs. later): r =.29** Transcendent Insight at Time 1 correlated… with ED at T1: r =.25* with ED at T2 (3 yrs. later): r =.29** ED T1 T–Insight T1.25* ED T2.24**.18 *p <.05 **p <.01 Transcendent Experience and ED: p’s >.10

9 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 = Transcendent experience? ED does not correlate with well-being Yet many quiet-ego qualities correlate w/ well-being Experiential growth stories & WB: r = Transcendent experience?

10 Findings: Transcendence & WB Transcendent Experience at Time 1 and… WB at T1: r =.23* WB at T2 (3 yrs. later): r =.35** 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 WB T1 T–Exp. T1 WB T2.40***.27** Transcendent Insight and WB: p’s >.10

11 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 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

12 Thanks April Sakaeda Jen Pals Steven Barger Douglas Robinette Lindsay Richerson Julie Adelman Brooke Smith Richard Schloe April Sakaeda Jen Pals Steven Barger Douglas Robinette Lindsay Richerson Julie Adelman Brooke Smith Richard Schloe Foley Family Foundation Templeton Foundation Foley Family Foundation Templeton Foundation


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