An Equation of Self-Discovery

Phuong Pham


There are different versions of yourself that exist in the minds of the people you've ever met. Sometimes, in just a short interaction, you leave a misguided impression on someone which results in them thinking of you differently. However, how people see you can affect how you think of yourself. Knowing that can cause one to question: “which version is my true self? How do I discover my true self?” In order to discover our true self—a sense of self based on spontaneous authentic experience—we need to examine the objective perceptions of ourselves others provide to us; as we may be confused as to how much we know ourselves, and unintentionally send conflicting impressions of ourselves to others. I hope to encourage people to open up and be more mindful about how they act around others, but only to some extent that they don't become overly confused and forget who they are.

Thesis Advisors

Earl Gee: SJSU Graphic Design Professor

Connie Hwang: SJSU Graphic Design Professor

Brian W. Haas: Associate Professor

Research Questions

1. Do people really know how others see them? How self-aware are they?

2. How can people’s perception of you inform your perception of yourself?

3. What is the value of understanding yourself?


“me=?” exhibition is where the visitor can learn about different social styles and explore more about themselves. It demonstrates how someone can be perceived: through self-reflection, others’ perspectives, and studies. Based on the Merrill-Reid model, the 4 social styles (Driver, Analytical, Expressive, Amiable) are visualized as AR filters which make it more intriguing for the audience to learn about them and use them as a fun way to express their social styles to others. The exhibition lets people explore themselves and others through different ways and remind them about the person they are and the person they want to be.