Identity Salience

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Identity salience is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as the degree to which your idea of your self is in harmony with the role you are preforming; the corresponding degree to which you invest effort in the role; and the ultimate degree to which you then succeed in that role:

Important in identity theory because the salience we attach to our identities influences how much effort we put into each role and how well we perform in each role. (Desrochers & Thompson)

This is related to the idea of integrity as it relates to being whole, entire and undiminished. What the definition of identity salience means is that if we feel a role we perform is out of harmony with our vision of our self-description (identity) or, worse yet, opposed to our vision of self or, even worse, antithetical to our self-vision, then we will not invest effort, inspiration, energy in the role. Thus success in the role will be impeded to varying degrees, to the degree to which we feel the absence, or lack, of identity salience.

An example may be taken from the play The Glass Menagerie. Tom's vision of self was that he was a writer. His role was as bread winner and factory worker. Tom felt no identity salience with his job role, where they called him "Shakespeare" for his propensity to write. Tom's investment of effort at the factory was minimal and he failed utterly by abandoning his role altogether and running away. Tom felt no identity salience. There are degrees of identity salience. Tom's example is virtually zero identity salience.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I have only read one article on this, but as I understand it identity salience means how your identity separates from your family and your role.  As we grow, we distinguish ourselves from those around us.  This is the process of identity salience.  It is the process of growing up, and figuring out who you are.