Advice taking, which is a decision-making process formulated by decision-makers with the reference of others’ suggestions, was investigated extensively in the field of behavioral decision making. To date, majority of researchers have studied the facilitating or hindering of the exchange of advice by situational factors, leaving plenty of variables relatively unexplored. A small numbers of studies that have included individual differences, such as intelligence, conscientiousness, emotion, power, etc., have found promising results. Self-esteem as an important variable in social psychology, affects the individual's social adaptation and mental health, but its influence on advice taking is still unexplored. Due to explicit self-esteem and implicit self-esteem are two independent dimensions, so we aim to explore the joint influence of explicit self-esteem and implicit self-esteem on advice taking.
Three experiments are designed to test our hypotheses. In study1, we investigated how explicit self-esteem, implicit self-esteem, and the discrepancies of explicit self-esteem and implicit self-esteem affect the advice taking process. In study 2, by priming the high implicit self-esteem, we intended to furtherly verify the influence of self-esteem discrepancies on advice taking. In study 3, we explored whether self-concept clarity mediated the relationship between self-esteem discrepancies and advice taking, thus to deepen the understanding for the mechanism of the discrepancies of self-esteem and advice taking.
310 university students participated in the three experiments, 106 in study 1, 74 in study 2, and 130 in study 3. Results showed that, the explicit self-esteem had a negative correlation with advice taking, and the influence of implicit self-esteem on advice taking was not significant, but the discrepancies of explicit self-esteem and implicit self-esteem affected advice taking. The self-concept clarity mediated the influence of self-esteem discrepancies on advice taking. Implications, limitations and future directions were discussed as well.