(Revised from original 2004 version)
Orientation to the Public Image Assessment Exercise
The Public Image Assessment exercise acquaints students with the ideal images they hold of themselves, the actions they engage in to convey these images, and the benefits and costs of these behaviors to themselves and to others. Social psychologists call this process impression management. Although managing others' impressions of us is a natural part of life--and there are good, pragmatic reasons for being concerned with the images we present to others--problems arise when people are driven by concerns about others' assessments of them. When the goal of validating one's image becomes more important than others, the task, or a group's mission, it becomes difficult to learn, take risks, and experiment.