Implicit self-esteem refers to a person's disposition to evaluate themselves in a spontaneous, automatic, or unconscious manner. It contrasts with explicit self-esteem, which entails more conscious and reflective self-evaluation. Both explicit and implicit self-esteem are constituents of self-esteem.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Influencing factors
- 3 Consequences and correlations
- 4 Measures
- 5 Further reading
- 6 References
Implicit self-esteem has been specifically defined as "the introspectively unidentified (or inaccurately identified) effect of the self-attitude on evaluation of self-associated and self-dissociated objects". Because by definition implicit self-esteem may not be accessible to conscious introspection, measures of implicit do not rely on direct self-reports, but rather infer the valence of associations with the self through other means.
The vast majority of implicit self-esteem measures suggest that an individual's self-evaluation spills over to self-related objects. Also, these measures reveal that people, on average, have positive self-evaluations. The overestimation of one's traits and abilities is argued to be a spillover of positive affect from the self to objects associated with the self. This "spillover" is automatic and unconscious. Implicit self-esteem therefore offers an explanation of positivity bias for things related to the self. Associations are especially important; implicit self-esteem is made up of a series of associations between the self and a positive or negative evaluation of the self. This is especially shown in measures of the Implicit Association Test.
Several researchers have suggested that levels of implicit self-esteem can be affected by evaluative conditioning, through pairing of construct of the self with positive or negative stimuli, with the objective of altering attitude towards the self. In addition, social comparison, or more specifically the performance of people in one’s close social circle, can also affect implicit self-esteem. These information suggests that expectancies on social inclusion is a factor in self-evaluation.
The influence of evaluative conditioning on implicit self-esteem is analogous to the principles of classical conditioning on behavioral responses. Although the latter involves pairing an unconditioned stimulus with a neutral stimulus repeatedly until presence of the neutral stimulus evokes the consequence of the unconditioned stimulus, evaluative conditioning involves pairing positive and negative stimulus with an internal construct- the self- to manipulate levels of implicit self-esteem.
The effectiveness of evaluative conditioning hinges on the understanding that implicit self-esteem is interpersonally associative in nature, and that there is a causal relationship between the self and positive/negative social feedback. Studies have shown that participants repeatedly exposed to pairings of self-relevant information with smiling faces showed enhanced implicit self-esteem.
In addition, studies have also found that pairing the word ‘I’ with positive traits heightens implicit self-esteem regardless of level of temporal self-esteem prior to the conditioning process. Subliminal presentation of the stimuli reflected that implicit self-esteem is altered in the absence of consciousness. Given that evaluative conditioning changes attitude at a fundamental level and the evaluation that is automatically activated on encountering the attitude object, implicit self-esteem could be assessed as attitude towards the self 
The self-evaluation maintenance theory (SEM) suggests that a significant other’s success in self-relevant aspects can cause people to feel threatened, allowing comparison of one’s self to the self of another, impacting self-evaluation. Intimacy of relationships predicts likelihood of upward social comparison, which inevitably leads to lower implicit self-esteem.
Given that the SEM is moderated by intimacy of relationship, its impact can be prominently witnessed between romantic partners. Evidence shows that men tend to have lowered implicit self-esteem when their romantic partners succeeded than when they failed, and that they automatically interpret their romantic partners’ success as their own failure. The underlying explanation might be that self-evaluation is driven by the fulfillment of ones’ gender role. Another explanation in line with the interpersonal nature of self-evaluation is stems from the belief that women are attracted to men’s success. Hence, the perception of failure in a man could be indicative of fear associated with acceptance from his significant other as well as abandonment issues. In general, studies on social comparison on implicit self-esteem has yielded the conclusion that comparisons with other individuals can impact one's self-esteem. In addition, these effects are greater when the individual being compared to is psychologically close to one.
Consequences and correlations
An individual's level of implicit self-esteem affects him or her in various crucial domains that are relevant to social, emotional, and cognitive well-being. In some cases, discrepancies between the implicit and explicit self-esteem affects affective well-being and are highly associated with clinical symptoms. Implicit self-esteem also determines how individuals approach relational conflicts and social settings. While low levels of implicit self-esteem can be erroneous, boosts in implicit self-esteem through mechanisms involved in narcissism can also impair an individual's performance in cognitive tasks, an external representation of competence in occupational settings.
Discrepancies between implicit and explicit self-esteem
Discrepancies between implicit and explicit self-esteem are called damaged self-esteem if the explicit self-esteem is lower, and defensive self-esteem if the implicit self-esteen is lower.
It has been found that when individuals tend to have a higher correspondence between implicit and explicit self-esteem if they trust their intuition.
Individuals with a combination of high implicit and low explicit self-esteem possess what psychologists call a damaged self-esteem.
Results studies indicate that, in comparison to individuals with low implicit and low explicit self-esteem, individuals with damaged self-esteem exhibit more optimism and less self-protection as well as higher levels of both maladaptive and adaptive perfectionism.
Damaged self-esteem has also been found to correlate with many clinical symptoms and disorders. In particular, the size of the discrepancy between implicit and explicit self-esteem in the direction of a damaged self-esteem has been found to correlate positively with heightened symptoms of depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation and loneliness. While implicit self-esteem itself is not correlated with these internalizing symptoms, the interaction between implicit and explicit self-esteem does. In particular, when individuals display low explicit self-esteem, their level of implicit self-esteem becomes directly and positively correlated with their level of suicidal ideation. This reflects the crucial role of implicit self-esteem in internalizing problems. We can understand the impact of a damaged self-esteem as an entrapment between goals, which stem from implicit self-esteem, and reality, which mediates explicit self-esteem. Indeed, damaged self-esteem has been found to correlate with a maladaptive pattern of perfectionism, which is hinged upon rigidly high expectations that often contribute to failure.
Damaged self-esteem has also been found to correlate positively with internet addiction, which underlying mechanism parallels that of clinical conditions such as bulimia nervosa. This occurrence of compulsions may be attributed to an automatic defense mechanism in which the individual avoids anxiety. However, the development of a damaged self-esteem as an avoidance mechanism can also precipitate difficulties in establishing a consistent self-view.
Conversely, individuals with a combination of low implicit and high explicit self-esteem have what is called defensive self-esteem (or synonymously fragile self-esteem). In a comparative study it was found that individuals with defensive self-esteem tended to be less forgiving than others.
Implicit self-esteem correlates
An important indicator of relationship stability and health is conflict behavior, the way individuals behave during a conflict. Peterson and DeHart found that Implicit self-esteem can regulate connection during times of relationship crises. Studies suggest that individuals with high implicit self-esteem tend to engage more in nonverbal positive behaviors during conflict when they perceive their partners to be committed. Positive nonverbal behaviors during conflict is extremely predictive of relationship outcomes such as commitment, satisfaction and stability. Also, implicit self-esteem also predicts sensitivity towards partners’ availability or support, even within a relationship-threat. That is, individuals high in implicit self-esteem tend to be implicitly motivated to consciously correct for connection and sensitivity to their partners’ effort, despite explicitly doubting their investment in the relationship. This ability to overcome relationship-threats as perpetuated by high levels of implicit self-esteem is crucial to relational well-being.
In addition, low implicit self-esteem has also been found to precipitate uncertainty in self-concept. This instability in grasping the self is especially erroneous in regulation of behaviors in social situations. It has been shown that uncertainty about the self makes people vulnerable to holding and expressing minority opinions, especially those who are susceptible to self-threat (low self-esteem). Individuals with low implicit self-esteem tend to respond defensively to self-threats, and because minority opinions are more self-diagnostic than majority ones, individuals may hold these opinions to shield themselves from threat of uncertainty. They also tend to take extreme views and to over-estimate the social consensus for their views.
Gender Role: Gender differences play a vital role in implicit self-esteem in how its influenced by the performance of the significant other. Also, Women are more prone to trust their feelings and intuition, in contrast to men. The correlation between explicit and implicit self-esteem is greater for women then for men. Implicit self-esteem contains instinctive and empirical factors then people who are in touch with their feelings, which would report to have higher explicit self-esteem scores, which are consistent to implicit self-esteem scores. There were six studies that supported this idea, these results where held in three diverse cultures, two unlike measures of implicit self-esteem.[clarification needed] These ideas showed the correlation between implicit and explicit self-esteem. This is higher for women then men. 
Self-affirming activities that significantly raises implicit self-esteem, such as viewing one’s own Facebook profile page, has been shown to decrease motivation to do well in cognitive tasks of moderate difficulty. Results like this suggests that a peak in unconscious positivity associated with the self may discount an individual’s efforts to further prove his worth in other areas. Consequently, this leaves an individual unmotivated to perform well in more practical settings.
Implicit self-esteem is assessed using indirect measures of cognitive processing. These include the Name Letter Task and the Implicit Association Test. Such indirect measures are designed to reduce awareness of, or control of, the process of assessment. When used to assess implicit self-esteem, they feature stimuli designed to represent the self, such as personal pronouns (e.g., "I") or letters in one's name.
The name–letter effect is one of the widest used measures of implicit self-esteem. It represents the idea that an individual prefers the letters belonging to their own name and will select these above other letters in choice tasks. It seemingly occurs subconsciously, with the mere-exposure effect ruled out as a possible explanation.
This effect has been found in a vast range of studies. In one such scenario, participants were given a list of letters, one of which contained letters from their own name and the other of which contained other letters, and asked them to circle the preferred letter. This study found that, even when accounting for all other variables, letters belonging to the participants' own names were preferred. (The Name Letter Test) The Name Letter Test is a related measure for implicit self-esteem. This test is designed to rate the attractiveness of initials to someone’s name and the letters associated with their name. In contrast to the average attractiveness of those same initial to someone’s names and letters. Which people do not have a correlation with those initial or name letters would rate. This design technique is disorderly with overall letter liking. Response bias or overall letter liking for implicit self-esteem may mistake the results of this test. The proposal for another calculation method that is without confounds but still measures the influence of name letter assessment by supervising for the influence of not name letter liking and general liking the specific letters.
Similar results have been found in cross-cultural studies, using different alphabets.
It is important to note the difference between the name–letter effect and 'implicit egotism', the latter being attributed to the way people gravitate towards places, people and situations that reflect themselves, including perhaps similarities with their own name. Indeed, research into the topic has shown similarities between people's names and their future careers; for example, the names Dennis and Denise are overepresented among dentists.
The implicit-association test is an experimental method used within psychology to attempt to tap in to a person's automatic, or subconscious association between a concept and an attribute. It has been widely used in an attempt to uncover a person's subconscious prejudices against certain members of society, such as those who are overweight, as well as other implicit stereotypes and associations. The test was formatted in order to measure self-esteem. Participants are asked to make rapid responses, co-classifying themselves ("the self") and positive attributes, as well as negative attributes. The speed, or ease of these associations made is said to show a subconscious, or implicit preference for one attribute over another, with regards to the self.
Many studies, have shown that the vast majority of people's implicit self-esteem is positively biased. That is, people find it a great deal easier to associate themselves with a positive concept than a negative one. Whether this is truly displaying implicit self-esteem is arguable; the findings may instead be linked with illusory superiority, in that people tend to rate themselves as above average on a number of scales.
Implicit Self Esteem In the study of, The validity and reliability of seven implicit self-esteem measures have been explored in this article. The implicit measures were not correlated with one another. However they did correlate only faintly with measures of explicit self-esteem. The implicit self measures confirmed partial reliabilities in correlation to good test-retest reliabilities. Nonetheless implicit measures were limited in their ability to calculate standard variables, for the test. Certain evidence explained that implicit self-esteem measured are delicate to context, which is further argued in future research of implicit self-esteem.
Links with explicit self-esteem
However, the validity of the implicit-association test and implicit self-esteem as a measure of self-esteem itself is questionable due to mixed evidence with regards to explicit self-esteem. On the one hand, researchers in a detailed and comprehensive study of implicit self-esteem found the IAT to correlate weakly, yet consistently, with measures of explicit self-esteem. However, more recent research has found measures of explicit self-esteem, such as questionnaires, to be independent of implicit self-esteem, providing an interesting insight into the validity of implicit self-esteem, explicit self-esteem, and the nature of self-esteem itself.
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