Self-Presentation, also known as Impression Management (IM) is primarily a goal-directed conscious or unconscious attempt to influence the perceptions of other people about a person, object or event by regulating and controlling information in social interaction. If a person tries to influence the perception of his image, this activity is called self-presentation. With regard to the self-monitoring, it is the extent to which people monitor and control their expressive behavior and self-presentation.
High self-monitors exert more expressive control over their social behavior and tend to adapt their appearance and acts to specific circumstances. The situation is different with low self-monitors, who display less motivation towards improving their self-presentation. They act more naturally and are least bothered about their public image. This essay has been designed to establish a relationship between the self-presentation and self-monitoring. In the beginning both the concepts will be explained followed by an analysis of the relationship between them.
What is Self-Presentation Self-presentation, also known as impression management is the process by which people attempt to manage or control the perception others form of them. There is often a tendency for people to try to present themselves so as to impress others in a socially desirable way. The theory of impression management states that any individual or organization must establish and maintain impressions that are congruent with the perceptions they want to convey to their publics.
The impression management theory describes the methods through which people take actions to a create a public perception, in order to achieve their personal or organizational goals (“Impression Management” 2006, pars. 1-5). As with other cognitive processes, impression management has many possible conceptual dimensions (Dunegan 1993, pp. 491) and has been researched in relation to aggression, attitude change, attributions, social facilitation, and leadership.
It is basically an intentional or un-intentional goal-directed approach to influence the perceptions of other people about a person, object or event by regulating and controlling information in social interaction. In short, we can say that if a person tries to influence the perception of his/her image, the activity is called self-presentation. What is Self-Monitoring In any scenario, people are generally motivated to behave appropriately and in a manner which is appealing to others.
The theory of self-monitoring explains the extent to which people value, create, cultivate, and project social images and public appearance (Gangestad & Snyder, 2000, p. 531). The level of control which the people apply is different from a person to person. Some people may not care much about the perception others make of them. They say what they believe. These people are included in the category of low self-monitors. On the other hand, high self-monitors, are likely to avoid talking about themselves as they really are, and use pretense and deception in their efforts to play to the crowd (Buss and Brigg 1984, p.
1310). In general, self-monitoring involves three major tendencies: • The willingness to be the center of attention — a tendency to behave in outgoing, extraverted ways. • Sensitivity to the reactions of others. • Ability and willingness to adjust behavior to induce positive reactions in others. High and Low Self-Monitors As states earlier, some people are more sensitive to the image they form when in public. Such people are very self-conscious and like to ‘look good’ and will hence usually adapt well to differing social situations. These people are called the high self-monitors.
The high self-monitors would observe people and note their response to different behaviors of other people. On the other hand, there are people are less concerned about what others think about them. They are termed as low self-monitors. Low self-monitors do not make any effort to exercise control over their expressive behavior. High and low self-monitors possess different qualities. They regulate their behaviour in public in different ways. High self-monitors would generally adjust their social behaviours according to situational cues, whereas low self-monitors regulate their social behaviours according to their dispositions.
Low self-monitors usually conform their behavior to their internal beliefs. Another major difference between high and low self-monitors is that the low self-monitors would choose friends based upon their liking whereas, the selection criteria for friends is different in high self-monitors. The high self-monitors choose friends as activity partners for their leisure time based on the friends’ skill in the specific activity. Moreover, high self-monitors will be more concerned about the partner’s physical appearance than the personality (Snyder, Berscheid, & Glick, 1985).
Relationship Between Self-Presentation and Self-Monitoring Self-presentation and self-monitoring are inter-related terms. In simple words, self-presentation is the way one presents himself/herself and self-monitoring is the level of control exerted during the process of self-presentation. Accordingly, high and low self-monitors will have different degree of self-presentation. High self-monitors are more adoptable and would adjust their behaviors across situations because they are more sensitive to the expectation of others.
Their style of self-presentation would generally be more appropriate and suiting to every scenario they confront (Snyder, 1974, p. 527). They would always ask themselves as to what does this situation want them to be (Snyder, 1987, p. 32). They will constantly observe before exposing themselves. They will not express their emotions unless they are sure of their appropriateness. The high self-monitors will exhibit relatively low behavioral consistency across situations. They would tend to make a different image or face which is superficial, but will be corresponding to the situation.
On the other hand, low self-monitors would present themselves as natural as they are and will seldom make any conscious effort to conceal their inner sentiments. Their behavior will usually be consistent across situations. The low self-monitors’ expressive self-presentation will be articulated by their inner attitudes, dispositions, and values. Low self-monitors are not concerned about the “appropriateness of their self-presentation” (Snyder, 1974. p. 527). Another important aspect of the relationship between self-presentation and low self-monitors is that they are often described as individuals who lack self-presentation concerns.
They will not make much effort in adjusting their behaviour in accordance with situational demands. Their self-presentation will be natural and least concerned with the expectations of others. On the contrary, high self-monitors would make all concerted efforts in controlling their behavioural patterns which are conflicting with the situations. They are the ones whose self-presenting will be much applauded and their personalities will usually be graded as sober and acceptable. In one experiment, Snyder (1974) found that professional stage actors scored higher than non-actors on measures of self-monitoring.
Professional actors genuinely possess acting ability and control over their emotions, expression, and behaviour. They were able to adapt to changing situations adequately. Their self-presentation was therefore much more stable and suiting the environment. In another experiment on ordinary college students, high self-monitors were found to be better than the low self-monitors in expressing different emotions like anger, happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust, fear, and guilt. High self-monitors can even adapt to sudden changing moods.
When high self-monitors were asked to act like an extraverted, friendly, and outgoing person and then suddenly to act like an introverted, withdrawn, and reserved person, high self-monitors adopted each role better than low self-monitors did (Lippa, 1976). Conclusion Self-presentation is how we tend to present ourselves. It is how we want people to look at us. The art of exercising control over our emotions, behaviour, and moods is basically the self-monitoring. Self-monitoring refers to a person’s ability to adjust his or her behaviour to external situational factors.
Individuals high in self-monitoring show considerable adaptability in their behaviour. They can behave differently in varying situations. They are found to be much capable of presenting striking contradictions between the public persona and the private self. On the other hand, it becomes difficult for low self-monitors to disguise themselves this way (“Self-Monitoring Scale,” 2006). In nut shell, high self-monitors are more concerned about self-presentation than the low self-monitors. Bibliography Buss, A. H. , & Briggs, S. R. (1984). Drama and the self in social interaction.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1310-1324. Dunegan, K. J. (1993, June). Framing Cognitive Modes, and Image Theory. Journal of Applied Psychology, pp. 491. Gangestad, S. W. , & M. Snyder (2000). Self-monitoring: Appraisal and Reappraisal. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 530-555. “Impression Management,” (2006). Wikipedia, viewed 30 August 2006, http://www. answers. com/self-presentation Lippa, R. (1976). Expressive control, expressive consistency, and the correspondence between expressive behavior and personality. Journal of Personality, 44, 541-559.
“Self-Monitoring Scale. ” (2006). Viewed 30 August 2006, http://pubpages. unh. edu/~ckb/SELFMON2. html Snyder, M. (1974). Self-monitoring of expressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30, 434-461. Snyder, M. (1987). Public appearances/private realities: The psychology of self-monitoring. New York, Freeman. Snyder, M. , Berscheid, E. , & Glick, P. (1985). Focusing on the exterior and the interior: Two investigations of the initiation of personal relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48 , 1427-1439.