Self-esteem depends on the beholder: Effects of a subtle social value cue

Max Weisbuch, Stacey A. Sinclair, Jeanine L. Skorinko, Collette P. Eccleston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The idea that self-esteem functions as a gauge or "sociometer" of social value [Leary, M. R., Baumeister, R. F. (2000). The nature and function of self-esteem: Sociometer theory. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 32, pp. 1-62). San Diego: Academic Press] is supported by research on direct social feedback. To examine if the sociometer model is relevant to more subtle social value cues, the implicit self-esteem of women was assessed a week after an interaction with an experimenter. Consistent with the sociometer model, Week 2 self-esteem depended on a subtle social value cue encountered during Week 1. When the Week 1 experimenter wore a t-shirt celebrating larger bodies (i.e., "everyBODY is beautiful"), heavier women had higher self-esteem than lighter women in Week 2. As hypothesized, this effect was relationship-specific, occurring only when the same experimenter administered Week 1 and 2 sessions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-148
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Priming
  • Self-esteem
  • Social tuning
  • Sociometer


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-esteem depends on the beholder: Effects of a subtle social value cue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this