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"Know Thyself": A Review of True Self
Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
Volume 9, Issue 3, June 2020, Pages: 24-30
Received: May 6, 2020; Accepted: May 25, 2020; Published: Jun. 4, 2020
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Jian Du, Graduate School of Human-Environment Studies, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan
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Throughout the years "Know Thyself", as an old aphorism, has been discussed by laypeople and researchers alike. It continues to hold a vital position in contemporary psychology. According to the traditional psychoanalytic and humanistic theories, being aware of and behaving in accordance with one's true self, improves an individual's psychological health. However, what the "true self" is, and how it affects people's daily lives, continues to be explored. In the present study, we reviewed the history and definition of the true self. Based on the characteristics found in previous research, we tentatively defined the true self as "a set of mental representations of the inherent, private, and stable attributions of oneself; reflective of whom an individual thinks he/she really is." Following that, we reviewed several ways of measuring or assessing the true self, and compared advantages and disadvantages of them. We also reviewed the effects the true self has on people's meaning in life, decision satisfaction, and moral judgment, as well as psychological health. Finally, we suggested that it is crucial to define the true self more clearly, to develop methods to measure or assess it more accurately, and to investigate the fundamental mechanisms by which it benefits to people.
True Self, Definition, Measurement, Psychological Functioning
To cite this article
Jian Du, "Know Thyself": A Review of True Self, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. Vol. 9, No. 3, 2020, pp. 24-30. doi: 10.11648/j.pbs.20200903.11
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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