Theory of Objective Self

1972 - Self-Awareness Research

Despite our fascination with self-awareness since the Ancient Greeks, research into self-awareness was late on the academic scene. In fact, the first attempt to define ‘self-awareness’ didn’t occur until 1972. Here, psychologists Shelley Duval and Robert Wickland scientifically investigated this ‘self-awareness’ construct.

In Duval and Wickland’s book, The Theory of Objective Self Awareness, they defined self-awareness as a temporary state of self-consciousness. But self-insight researcher Dr Tasha Eurich laments this focus is too limited.

Research has moved on a lot since, but as you shall quickly learn in the following sections, most existing definitions fall short. Worse, leadership development programmes and MBAs only focus on a narrow definition of self-awareness. To benefit fully from self-awareness, we need to learn and action a more holistic understanding of what self-awareness actually is.