Revue de neuropsychologie


Identity: a self-representation adjusting the reality Volume 8, issue 4, Octobre-Novembre-Décembre 2016


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1 Inserm, UMR-S1077, 14000 Caen, France
2 Université de Caen-Normandie, UMR-S1077, 2, rue des Rochambelles, 14032 Caen, France
3 École pratique des Hautes Études, UMR-S1077, 14000 Caen, France
4 CHU Caen, UMR-S1077, 14000 Caen, France
* Correspondance
a Ces deux auteurs ont contribué de manière égale à la rédaction de l’article

The aim of this article is to present a summarized view of concepts associated to the notion of identity. Human identity includes both a sense and a set of characteristics, defining an individual as unique or as resembling others from the same group. These characteristics can be observed both from the outside and by the individual himself. However, a discrepancy is often found between these two observations, as in general people tend to perceive themselves more positively than others perceive them. A positive self-image is necessary for a mental well-being, but cognitive biases aiming at preserving it may hamper the integration of a certain type of information about oneself, namely the negative one. A variety of clinical conditions implying cognitive impairments, whose effects increase under these cognitive biases aiming at protecting the self-image, may cause discrepancy between patients’ self-image and the reality. Thus, acceptance of one's own disease or disability seems to depend on various cognitive and affective mechanisms that take place naturally in a clinical condition of vulnerability.