Rebecca Schlegel

Rebecca Schlegel, Ph.D. earned her BS from Kansas State University and PhD from the University of Missouri. She is currently an assistant professor in the psychology department at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Her research examines the pervasive influence of self and identity on psychological functioning. In particular, Schlegel and her colleagues and have argued that the true self-concept serves a hub of meaning by exporting legitimacy, importance, and value to other aspects of life (e.g., relationships, behavior, goals, work), such that life endeavors that are concordant with the true self-concept are deemed valuable for that very reason.

Abstract for Invited Lecture:

The True Self-Concept as a Hub of Meaning

A variety of philosophical and psychological perspectives converge to suggest that a happy and meaningful life is the product of living in accord with one’s true self. This idea similarly appears throughout literature, film, and folk wisdom. This talk will examine the idea that this idea is so pervasive in our society, that most people hold a “true self as guide” lay theory that informs the way they think about and structure their lives. This talk will examine the pervasiveness of this lay theory and the role it plays in meaning-making. My colleagues and I argue that people use their true self-concepts like an internal compass that helps them form unique “life philosophies” that help them decide which relationships, behaviors, and goals are valuable and worth pursuing. Consequently, when people feel like they know who they are, they feel more confident that they have a compass to follow, and that they are pursuing goals that are worthwhile and meaningful. In this way, feelings of true self-knowledge help people extract meaning from their life activities and serve as an important predictor of decision satisfaction and meaning in life judgments.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Those who attend this talk should be able describe current empirical research showing how self-knowledge relates to decision satisfaction.
  2. Those who attend this talk should be able to explain how lay conceptions of the true self influence perceptions of meaning in life.