The self-referent task, which typically asks "Does this word describe you?", has been assumed to require access to the real self. The present study investigated the influence of other selves, the ideal and social self, on the self-reference effect. In Experiment 1, ideal-, social- and real-self referent conditions resulted in better recall than the semantic condition, but there was no difference in recall among the three self-referent conditions. In Experiments 2 and 3, each of the three self-referent tasks was shown to have resulted in unique encoded information. The results as a whole suggest that ideal, social, and real selves are rich, well integrated cognitive structures, and support the argument that associating stimuli with self-knowledge is crucial for the self-reference effect.
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