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The conscious or unconscious control of the impression that one creates in social interactions or situations. It is one of the important forms of impression management, namely management of one's own impression on others through role playing. The phenomenon is encapsulated in Shakespeare's famous observation in As You Like It: ‘All the world's a stage, / And all the men and women merely players: / They have their exits and their entrances; / And one man in his time plays many parts’ (II.vii.139–42). It was popularized by the Canadian-born US sociologist Erving Goffman (1922–82) in his influential book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959). See also ingratiation, self-monitoring, social constructionist psychology.

Subjects: Psychology.

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