Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Want Self and Should Self

shallow focus photography of brown wooden floor signage

[Photo by Shalone Cason at Unsplash]

Social scientists have long argued that we often experience conflict within ourselves. The most common form of such conflict occurs between the "want self" and the "should self." The want self describes the side of you that's emotional, affective, impulsive, and hot-headed. In contrast, your should self is rational, cognitive, thoughtful, and cool-headed. The should self encompasses our ethical intentions and the belief that we should behave according to our ethical values and principles. By contrast, the want self reflects our actual behavior, which is typically characterized by self-interest and a relative disregard for ethical considerations.

- Max H. Bazerman and Ann E. Tenbrunsel in Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What's Right and What to Do about It

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