The Self, Identity, and Removing the Mask with Mark Leary

March 14, 2018

This week I’m thrilled to welcome Mark Leary, Ph.D. to The Psychology Podcast! Dr. Leary is the Garonzik Family Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University and author of The Curse of the Self. His research interests focus on social motivation and emotion, and on processes involving self-reflection and self-relevant thought. He has written or edited 12 books and over 200 scholarly articles and chapters. He was the 2010 recipient of the Lifetime Career Award from the International Society for Self and Identity and a 2015 co-recipient of the Scientific Impact Award from the Society for Experimental Social Psychology.

During our chat we covered a number of mutual research interests including:

  • Self-esteem, identity and their relationships to behavior
  • The distinction between “instrumental social value” and “relational social value”
  • The human need for belonging
  • The concept of “self-presentation strategies” and their variations:
    • Imposter syndrome
    • Self-promotion
    • Exemplificaiton
    • Ingratiation
  • The difference between egoism and egotism

Read Dr. Leary’s new blog at PsychologyToday

6 Responses to “The Self, Identity, and Removing the Mask with Mark Leary”

  1. tim says:


    I have to say for several episodes now I hear you typing when you speak with your guest. This is quite annoying, makes me feel you are not fully committed to the conversation. Maybe you are really good at multitasking and its not an issue, then I would recommend getting better microphone what would not register the sound of typing.

    Otherwise love the podcast.


    • Scott Barry Kaufman says:

      Thanks for your comment. Glad you are enjoying the podcast! Sometimes I take notes if a guest said something that particularly intrigued me, so I don’t forget to mention it later if if there is an appropriate time. I am always totally in concentration with whoever I have on the show. With that, I will definitely do what I can to reduce the typing sound in future episodes. Thanks for letting me know!

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  3. Dean says:

    I found this episode quite interesting as it has brought up an issue of authenticity I have battled with before:

    Is it authentic to accept ourselves as a whole, bad parts and all, as humanists may have advocated. I agree we should definitely accept our negative traits and behaviours. If we do not accept a behaviour as part of ourselves, then we have no control over changing that behaviour.

    Where I disagree with the discussion on this podcast is the idea that being authentic means acting out these negative behaviours and traits. Accepting they are there is different to acting on them.

    I like a Heideggerian existentialist view of authenticity here. Once we accept a negative part of ourselves, and we personally view it as negative, then it is inauthentic to continue to act out these behaviours. It goes against our personal values, or the stance we have taken on these behaviours.

    I then see ourselves as this continuous project, where our current behaviours may not always match with our authentic values, and thus we are always striving towards our authentic self. This may lead to healthy feelings of incongruence.

    An example from my life was when I was trying to unlearn acting on my jealous impulses. It felt incongruent in the sense that my emotions were wanting me to restrict my partner, yet I was forcing myself to avoid this action, and pretend to act according to my authentic values.
    Eventually, through desensitization, my emotions and impulses actually began to align with my authentic values. Now I no longer feel jealousy towards intimate partners.

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