Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie

Title: Fostering Possible Selves. A literature review

Supplementary info

Type of assignment (Ba / Ma?): MA

Internal– or external?: internal

How many students? 1-2

New data collection (ja/nee?): NO

Type of research: Literature Review


As humans our great evolutionary advantage is our capacity for self-making and world making. The possible selves theory, formulated by Markus and Nurius in 1986, laid the foundation for three decades of research into the human capacity to invent ourselves and our worlds. Possible selves are defined as “individuals’ ideas of what they might become, what they would like to become, and what they are afraid of becoming”. Over the years, possible selves research has been concerned with a variety of topics (education, well-being and health), and branched into a variety of approaches.

In this study, you investigate the state-of-the-art of one promising approach or topic within the possible selves literature, for example research on:

1.the way social environments and communities foster positive possible selves, while limiting or devaluing possible selves are discouraged

2.the role of the imaginative capacity to invent new possible selves, which support the process of fulfilling full potentiality

You will use a method for systematic literature review, see for example

Supervisors: Anneke Sools or other professor