The whys and whens of personal uncertainty

D (David) De Cremer, C Sedikides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Van den Bos (this issue) argues for the regulatory importance of personal uncertainty. He defines personal uncertainty as “a subjective sense of doubt or instability in self-views, world-views, or the interrelation between the two” and as involving “the implicit and explicit feelings and other subjective reactions people experience as a result of being uncertain about themselves” (p. 198). Given that personal uncertainty is uncomfortable or aversive, people are motivated to reduce it. They do so in a variety of ways, most notably by adhering to cultural worldviews. Personal uncertainty, then, or its reduction, is a self-regulatory process through which people assign value to their daily practices and sociocultural norms. We concur that personal uncertainty reduction is a critical regulator of a range of social behaviors, and we welcome the contribution to the study of these phenomena by the uncertainty management model (Van den Bos, this issue). In our commentary, we focus on the link between uncertainty reduction and procedural fairness (i.e., the enactment of perceived fair vs. unfair organizational decision-making rules; ?De Cremer & Sedikides, 2005?? De Cremer, D. and Sedikides, C. 2005. Self-uncertainty and responsiveness to procedural justice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology., 41: 157–173. [Crossref], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar] ), and we highlight two issues that have implications for the model. First, why do people want to reduce their uncertainty? Second, when do people want to maintain or even increase their uncertainty?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-220
Number of pages3
JournalPsychological Inquiry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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