The Working Self-Concept in Transference: Significant-Other Activation and Self Change

Katrina Hinkley, Susan M. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research tested the hypothesis that changes in the working self-concept emerge in transference, defined as the activation and application of a significant-other representation to a new person and indexed by relevant inferences and memory (e.g., S. M. Andersen & A. Baum, 1994; S. M. Andersen, N. S. Glassman, S. Chen, & S. Cole, 1995). In an idiographic-nomothetic design, participants learned of a target person who resembled their own or a yoked participant's positively or negatively toned significant other. Results replicated the basic memory effect verifying transference. As predicted, the working self-concept changed in the transference condition. After learning about the new person, participants' freely listed self features shifted; the working self-concept became more infused with aspects of the self reflecting the self when with this significant other. Relevant changes in self evaluation were observed. Hence, changes in the working self-concept occurred in transference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1279-1295
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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