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Impression Management

Definition

Impression management refers to the activity of controlling information to steer others' opinions in the service of personal or social goals. Although people can manage impressions of almost anything (e.g., a clothing brand, a political position), people most commonly manage the impressions others form of themselves, a subtype of impression management that is often termed self-presentation.

History and Modern Usage

Many writers and philosophers have observed that people engage in strategic behaviors to control the impressions that their audiences form. The sociologist Erving Goffman popularized this idea further, arguing that ordinary people in everyday life work to convey desired impressions to others around them, just as actors on a stage work to present their characters to audiences.

Of course, given that actors are pretending to be people they ...

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