My research interests focus on (1) the self and (2) close relationships and intergroup relations. My approach to studying these areas is influenced by social-cognitive theory and methods, such as work on knowledge accessibility and dual-process models. In my view, merging social cognition with the self, close relationships, and intergroup relations is useful because it highlights the fundamentally social nature of perceiving, interpreting, judging, and behaving.
I am especially interested in studying how one’s relationships with significant others and one’s group memberships influence self-definition, self-evaluation, and self-regulation. For example, a colleague and I have recently proposed a framework to study the relational self, or the self in relation to significant others. We argue that the phenomenon of transference plays a major role in shaping the nature of the self in the course of everyday life. Our theory accounts for both stability and malleability in the relational self, and leaves room for social bases of the self beyond significant others, such as the social groups to which one belongs.
- Close Relationships
- Intergroup Relations
- Interpersonal Processes
- Self and Identity
- Social Cognition
Research Group or Laboratory:
- Self, Identity, & Relationships Laboratory
- Andersen, S. M., & Chen, S. (2002). The relational self: An interpersonal social-cognitive theory. Psychological Review, 109, 619-645.
- Chen, S. (2003). Psychological-state theories about significant others: Implications for the content and structure of significant-other representations. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1285-1302.
- Chen, S., & Boucher, H. C. (2008). Relational selves as self-affirmational resources. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 716-733.
- Chen, S., Boucher, H. C., & Tapias, M. P. (2006). The relational self revealed: Integrative conceptualization and implications for interpersonal life. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 151-179.
- Chen, S., Chen, K. Y., & Shaw, L. (2004). Self-verification motives at the collective level of self-definition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 77-94.
- Chen, S., English, T., & Peng, K. (2006). Self-verification and contextualized self-views. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 930-942.
- Chen, S., Langner, C. A., & Mendoza-Denton, R. (2009). When dispositional and role power fit: Implications for self-expression and self-other congruence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 710-727.
- Chen, S., Lee-Chai, A. Y., & Bargh, J. A. (2001). Relationship orientation as a moderator of the effects of social power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 173-187.
- Chen, S., Shaw, L. T., & Jeung, K. Y. (2006). Collective self-verification among members of a naturally occurring group: Possible antecedents and long-term consequences. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 28, 101-115.
- English, T., & Chen, S. (2011). Self-concept consistency and culture: The differential impact of two forms of consistency. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
- English, T., & Chen, S. (2007). Culture and self-concept stability: Consistency across and within contexts among Asian- and European-Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 478-490.
- Fast, N. J., & Chen, S. (2009). When the boss feels inadequate: Power, incompetence, and aggression. Psychological Science, 20, 1406-1413.
- Kraus, M. W., Chen, S., & Keltner, D. (2011). The power to be me: Power elevates self-concept consistency and authenticity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 974-980.
- Mendoza-Denton, R., Shaw-Taylor, L., Chen, S., & Chang, E. (2009). Ironic effects of explicit gender prejudice on women’s test performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 275-278.
- Chen, S. (2001). The role of theories in mental representations and their use in social perception: A theory-based approach to significant-other representations and transference. In G.B. Moskowitz (Ed.), Cognitive social psychology: The legacy and future of social cognition (pp. 125-142). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
- Chen, S., & Andersen, S. M. (1999). Relationships from the past in the present: Significant-other representations and transference in interpersonal life. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 31, pp. 123-190). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
- Chen, S., Boucher, H. C., & Kraus, M. W. (2011). The relational self: Emerging theory and evidence. In V. L. Vignoles, S. Schwartz, & K. Luyckx (Eds.), Handbook of Identity Theory and Research (pp. 145-179). New York: Springer.
- Chen, S., Fitzsimons, G. M., & Andersen, S. M. (2006). Automaticity and close relationships. In J. A. Bargh (Ed.), Social Psychology and the unconscious: The automaticity of higher mental processes (pp. 133-172). New York: Psychology Press.
- Personality Seminar
- Social Psychology
- Social Seminar
Department of Psychology
3413 Tolman Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California 94720-1650
- Phone: (510) 643-0843
- Fax: (510) 642-5293