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“Tell Me Who You Are" Recruitment Situations Activate Agentic (vs. Communal) Ideal Self-Presentations

Journal article
Authors Clara Amato
Sverker Sikström
Danilo Garcia
Published in Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology
Volume In Press
Issue In Press
Pages In Press
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages In Press
Language en
Keywords Latent Semantic Analysis, Agency, Communion, Self-Presentation, Impression Management
Subject categories Applied Psychology, Psychology


The aim of the study was to analyze freely generated self-presentations through the natural language processing technique of Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA). 451 participants (F = 360; M= 143) recruited from LinkedIn (a professional social network) were randomly assigned to generate 10 words to describe themselves to either an employer (recruitment-condition) or a friend (friendship-condition). The words’ frequency-rate and their semantic representation were compared between conditions and to the natural language (Google’s n-gram database). Self-presentations produced in the recruitment condition (vs. natural language) had significantly higher number of agentic words (e.g., problem-solver, responsible, able team-worker) and their contents were semantically closer to the concept of agency (i.e., competence, assertiveness, decisiveness) comparing to the friendship condition. Furthermore, the valence of the self-presentations’ words was higher (i.e., with a more positive meaning) in the recruitment condition. Altogether, these findings are consistent with the literature on the “Big Two”, self-presentation, and impression management.

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