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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Linda M. Isbell

Second Advisor

Bernhard Leidner

Third Advisor

Michael J. Constantino

Fourth Advisor

Ezekiel Kimball

Subject Categories

Personality and Social Contexts | Social Psychology


Ego is that which constructs and evaluates the concept of self in that it processes information and interprets objects (e.g., people, experiences) and labels them as part of the self (or not). To put it another way, ego is an active experiencer, perceiver, and doer that constructs, maintains, and regulates our sense of self and our relationships with others. Ego processes information in different modes. The mode that has been most extensively studied is the egotistical-narcissistic one because it fits well with the predominant cultural ideology of being individualistic and being motivated by self-interest. Thus, what has largely been ignored is an ego that is not predominantly motivated by self-interest. The quiet ego refers to a self-understanding that transcends egotism and identifies with a less defensive and growth-oriented stance toward the self and others. As a relatively new construct, its validity has been examined in domains related to balance, compassion, or growth. Its validity, however, has rarely been examined with respect to other aspects of self-identity that are both conceptually similar and have implications for well-being. In the dissertation studies, I first evaluated and established construct validity of the quiet ego with respect to the domains of self-perception (self-concept clarity or SCC), other-perception (theory of mind or ToM), and emotional intelligence (or EI) (Chapter 2). Building on these studies, I further examined the associations between the quiet ego and well-being through the lenses of SCC, ToM, and EI, demonstrating that the quiet ego predicts enhanced psychological well-being and self-esteem (Chapter 3.1), enriching interpersonal relations (Chapter 3.2), improved subjective well-being and attenuated stress (Chapter 3.3) via its associations with SCC, ToM, and EI, respectively. Finally, to further explore the nature of the association between the quiet ego and well-being, in Chapter 4, I investigated the causal link between the quiet ego and well-being using a longitudinal, randomized experiment. I found that a quiet ego contemplation improved participants’ subjective well-being, diminished their stress, and elevated their psychological flourishing. Taken together, these studies established the importance and validity of the quiet ego, and the results may have significant implications in applied, real-world contexts.


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