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Ekaterina Vasilevskaya, Olga Molchanova1,2
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation
  • 2 HSE University, 20 Myasnitskaya str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Possible Selves: Review of International Studies (in Russian)

2016. Vol. 13. No. 4. P. 801–815 [issue contents]

The article presents a review of foreign studies on possible selves. Possible selves are understood as individual’s notions on what one would like to become or is afraid to become in the future. Properties of possible selves are described. Possible selves are viewed as part of self-concept that manifests in cognitive representations of individually significant goals, aspirations, hopes and fears, which provide continuity between the present and the future of personality. The relevance of the current social cultural and historical context for the development of possible selves is discussed, as well as their vulnerability and variability in comparison to other elements of self-concept. Main types of possible selves are identified: expectations, hopes and fears, as well as best possible selves and lost possible selves. A detailed analysis of the parameters of possible selves, among which are emotional valence, balance, presence or absence of a strategy to reach possible self, articulation, perceived effectiveness, subjective significance, frequency of reference. The regulative function of possible selves is discussed, which consists in stimulation and organization of future behavior, making sense and meanings of current behavior, evaluation of life experience and current changes in person’s life, in management of emotional processes. The construct of motivational potential of possible selves is developed, in which the notions of motivation and self-concept are overlapped. The results of the studies are analyzed, which search for and determine parameters of possible selves that possess the most profound motivational potential. The study methods of possible selves are described, the most essential of which are questionnaires, interviews and experiments. In conclusion the unsolved issues of research in possible selves and perspectives for further study are outlined.

Citation: Vasilevskaya, E., Molchanova, O. (2016) Possible Selves: Review of International Studies. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, 13(4), 801-815 (in Russian)
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