• Relationship Patterns between Self-esteem, Self-respect and Cognitive Effort as Measured by Story Recall and the Eye Tracker

      Clucas, Claudine; Kelecsenyi, Hedvig (University of Chester, 2018)
      High levels of self-esteem has been associated with success for decades, while at the same time its utility to predict achievement-related behaviours has been questioned. This controversy brought self-respect (an independent, theoretically grounded construct) defined as a person’s positive, affective self-regard for being a moral, principled, and honourable person, to the forefront of empirical research. Accordingly, the current study intended to examine the relationship between self-report measures of self-respect, self-esteem and cognitive effort as measured by story recall and eye tracker measures of eye fixation with pupil dilation while reading a morally neutral and a morally charged story. A total of 40 participants, comprising of 11 males and 29 females, with a mean age of 34, from a convenience sample completed the study. A stronger positive relationship was expected between self-respect and measures of cognitive effort than between self-esteem and the same measures. Also, there was an anticipation of a stronger interaction between self-respect and the type of story tested, because higher self-respect might have implications for the processing of moral information. Four repeated measures of ANCOVA analyses demonstrated significant negative relationship between self-respect and cognitive effort. They also revealed a strong trend towards a negative relationship between self-esteem and cognitive effort. The results quite interestingly are contrary to the declared hypotheses of the study with regards to the direction of the relationship. Findings indicate that the interaction between self-respect and story type on recall and eye tracker measures were not significant. Hence, failing to support the theory that high levels of self-respect enhances sensitivity to moral information through the link to the moral self. The outcome also highlights the possibility that certain factors undermine the effort or more meaningful engagement is needed, perhaps, through a more complex task. It would help to establish not only relationship patterns, but determine whether self-respect is unique enough as an independent construct that could add to the prediction of cognitive effort above and beyond what is explained by self-esteem.