Self-Perception Theory Essay Sample

Published: 2022-08-30
Self-Perception Theory Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Psychology
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 898 words
8 min read

The self-perception theory has about two major postulates. The first description of the theory puts it that an individual is bale to recognize his initial attitudes by inferring to his earlier behavior and or the circumstances that led to the behavior. In essence, the first postulation puts it that the behavioral patterns do not follow free will, instead, they follow a set of predetermined decisions and behaviors that lead to those attitudes. In the same way, the second postulation holds it that's those individuals with a significantly low degree of self-inspection in determining their attitudes are more likely to look at prior behavior and circumstances to determine their attitudes for the decisions made (Bem, 1980). In essence, the second postulation renders the individual as an outside observer of their own behavior. The external examination in turn aid in the examination of behavior leading to the attitudes held. The self-perception theory boarders on subjects on the philosophy of mind and several marketing psychology subjects as will be observed in the experiments used to express the theory.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The first article examines the two major analysis approaches to the theory. Consequently, the first approach to the self-perception theory leads to the ontogeny of self-attributions. In the ontogeny of self-attributions, an instance is given where a child requires an adult to point out items and name them uniquely in order for the child to identify uniquely with the items. The instance is characterized to be one using external items to receive meaning. However, the same child receives other internal stimuli that cannot be explained by external description. For this reason, the self-perception ontogeny description puts it that the child will use external explanations to know the internal stimuli. An example is 'butterflies in the stomach'. Another approach used is self-perception postulates. The self-perception postulates examine the way people use external explanations to describe emotions and behavior (Bem, 1980). It is a postulation that supports the external examination phenomenon where an individual introspects through introspection. The point is the reason the self-perception theory is counter-intuitive.

On the other hand, the second article is an examination of the self-perception theory versus the dynamic learning theory. Essentially, the article explores the postulation that individuals are more likely to remember the rewards and decisions they made during the events but are not likely to remember the intrinsic motives that led to the events (Swank, 2006). The author tries to put it that motivations are mostly due to past experiences. For instance, individuals decide that they like to read by reviewing past data on their reading habits and then decide that they do read and therefore like to read. The second article's purpose is to show that the self-perception theory is more useful in education than in other contexts.

The methods used by both articles are experiential methods. Most of the self-perception theory analysis methods were through analysis methods where analytics were conducted by philosophy of the mind methods. However, both papers cite experimental instances that show the self-perception theory. The first experiment saw participants answering questions in the presence of a light, an amber light for truth and green for lying about the question. In essence, the participants were expected to answer truthfully when the light was amber and lie when it was green. The control for the experiments was to ask questions even when the light was not expected to be used (Bem, 1980). In retrospect, the experiments showed that the emotions held by individual could be affected by outside stimuli. The lights showed the reference behavioral points that the individuals could use to know the motives for their decisions. The experiment is characterized the cartoon experiment. Another experiment described in the second paper was on listening to a recording. The experiment was designed by Daryl Bem, the originator of the self-perception theory. In the experiment, participants are given a recording and told that the recorder had been paid a dollar in the first instance and 20 dollars in the second instance. The listeners then determine that the actors had been more passionate on the dollar pay than the other on 20. In this way, the listeners are able to tell the level of enjoyment each actor when recording (Swank, 2006). In the same way, the actors were able to examine their level of enjoyment by using the external rating of the listeners.

A number of studies have confirmed the self-perception theory. One of the described studies is the one done in the year 2006 by Tiffany Into and Colleagues. It was an experiment that induced external stimuli by making participants smile by putting a pencil on the mouth. The experiment showed that those induced to smile had less implicit prejudice to black faces than those shown white faces only without induction. Another specific example of the self-perception theory is one given by Bailenson of Stanford University. Bailenson used head gear to show some participants avatars of themselves exercising; others were shown other people exercising while others were shown their avatars standing still. The ones who saw themselves exercising and losing weight by the minute spent ten more minutes in the work-out room than the other participants. The examples show the evidence of the external view of oneself explained by the self-perception theory.


Bem. P. (1980).Self-perception. New York: John Wiley & Sons Publishing.

Swank. H. O. (2006). The Self-Perception Theory Versus a Dynamic Learning Model. Erasmus University Rotterdam and Tinbergen Institute Press.

Cite this page

Self-Perception Theory Essay Sample. (2022, Aug 30). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism