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What aspects of a person determine whether they are the same person they were in the past? This is one of the fundamental questions of research on personal identity. To date, this literature has focused on identifying the psychological states (e.g., moral beliefs, memories) that people rely on when making identity judgments. But the notion of personal identity depends on more than just psychological states. Most people also believe that the physical matter that makes up an individual is an important criterion for judging identity; changes to the physical stuff in a person's body, even if they are not accompanied by any psychological changes, are judged to change who the person is at some level. Here, we investigate the sources of these beliefs and propose that they stem from the broader cognitive tendency to assume that unseen physical essences make things what they are-psychological essentialism. Four studies provided support for this claim. In Studies 1 and 2, exposing participants to essentialist reasoning led to stronger endorsement of physical continuity as a criterion for personal identity. Similarly, individual differences in participants' essentialist thinking predicted the extent of their reliance on physical continuity (Study 3), and this relationship was observed even among 6- to 9-year-old children (Study 4). These studies advance theory on the psychology of personal identity by identifying a reason why people assign a central role to physical composition when judging identity.
This article was published in the following journal.
"Psychological essentialism" refers to our tendency to view the natural world as emerging from the result of deep, hidden, and internal forces called "essences." People tend to believe that genes unde...
Developing a "positive identity" is considered a core component of personal recovery, and mothering offers meaning in life and a valued identity. Few studies have highlighted the factors influencing i...
Learning and memory impairments are common in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) and have pervasive effects on everyday life functioning. Hence, memory and learning have received particular atte...
Current research and clinical practice in person-centered approaches highlight the importance of self, identity, and personal meanings in psychosis. Previous research has focused on dimensions of self...
Detailed thought, knowledge, complex analysis, reasoned judgment and professionalism all fundamentally underpin a surgeon's work and training, yet there is a popularly held view that accomplished surg...
Personal identity is being recently recognized as a core element for mental health disorders, with relevant clinical implications. However, scarcity of data exists on its role in schizophr...
The research aims at clarifying the impact of autism on personal identity in adulthood. Two studies will be made in order to compare adults with autistic spectrum disorders without intelle...
Self-defining memories (SDMs) are memories that are still important today to understand who the investigators are and participate to the maintain of personal identity. SDMs are also linked...
This study will implement an intervention designed to promote ethnic and racial identity development. It is hypothesized that the intervention will have positive effects on ethnic-racial i...
The overall goal of this study is to examine the relationships between cultural identity and identity-based motivation, physical activity, diet and obesity risk in African-American adolesc...
All types of crime in which personal data is obtained wrongfully, typically for economic gain.(from www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html)
Information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, either alone or when combined with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual.
Unauthorized access to personal information to obtain medical care or drugs, or to submit fraudulent billing for services. (from https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/medical-id-theft/index.asp)
Works consisting of accounts of personal experience in relation to a particular field or of participation in related activities or autobiographical accounts.
The personal set of abilities required to successfully interact and communicate with others, both verbally and non-verbally through gestures, body language and personal appearance.
Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philo...
Pediatrics is the general medicine of childhood. Because of the developmental processes (psychological and physical) of childhood, the involvement of parents, and the social management of conditions at home and at school, pediatrics is a specialty. With ...