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ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self The Social Self Tom Farsides: 25/09/03 Tom Farsides: 25/09/03.

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Presentation on theme: "ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self The Social Self Tom Farsides: 25/09/03 Tom Farsides: 25/09/03."— Presentation transcript:

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2 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self The Social Self Tom Farsides: 25/09/03 Tom Farsides: 25/09/03

3 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Lecture contents Introspection  How useful are self-reports? Self-perception  Can others’ behaviours change who we are? Self-esteem & Self-enhancement  How is depression possible?

4 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self The self-concept The self-concept is the sum total of a person’s beliefs (i.e., cognitions) about their own personal attributes. These beliefs can be about affect, behaviour, (other) cognitions, motives, etc. Sometimes evaluations of these beliefs (i.e., self- esteem) is considered part of the self-concept.

5 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self The development of self-awareness and identity ‘Subjective’ self-awareness ‘Objective’ self awareness Symbolic self-awareness

6 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Self-assessment: The perils of introspection Nisbett & Wilson (1977)  People often cannot explain the causes and correlates of their own behaviour. Wilson (1985)  Analysing the reasons for our preferences and actions (e.g., choosing a painting) may make us reach decisions we later come to regret. Wilson & Schooler (1991)  Analysing the reasons for our preferences and actions (e.g., ranking jams) may make us reach objectively bad decisions. Wilson & Kraft (1993)  Analysing the reasons why we are in romantic relationships can reduce our satisfaction with them.

7 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Benefits of introspection Millar & Tesser (1989)  Need to match introspection ‘type’ (i.e., of feelings, of thoughts) with behaviour type (i.e., relationships, decision-making). There may be other benefits to be derived from introspection, even if is not always accompanied by ‘genuine’ self-knowledge, e.g., in health (Pennebaker, 1997).

8 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Trafimow et al. (1997) “ Students who took the test in English focused more on personal traits, while those who took the test in Chinese were more focused on group affiliations” (Brehm et al., 2002, p. 67)

9 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Bem’s (1972) self-perception theory To the extent that  (i) people’s internal states are weak or difficult to interpret, and  (ii) they believe their behaviour to be unconstrained (e.g., by promise of reward or threat of punishment), then people will infer their attitudes (beliefs and feelings) from their behaviour.

10 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Self-perception research Rhodewalt & Agustsdottir (1986)  People subtly induced to describe themselves in positive terms scored higher on a subsequent self-esteem test than people who were not so induced. Swann & Ely (1984)  People subtly induced (by leading questions) to describe themselves as either introverted or extroverted subsequently defined themselves as such, but only when not previously certain about their level of dispositional introversion/extraversion.

11 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Self-perception of motivation The over-justification effect  Providing extrinsic reasons (rewards, punishments) for behaviour formally engaged in for intrinsic reasons (enjoyment, duty) results in reduction of intrinsic motivation to engage in those behaviours (and thus in spontaneous expression of such behaviours). This is the ‘paradoxical effect of reward on motivation’.

12 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Lepper et al. (1973) Making play into work

13 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Self-perception and performance quality Eisenberger & Cameron (1996)  Post-performance rewards for quality of performance can enhance intrinsic motivation as long as such rewards were not guaranteed in advance for completion of the performance. Amabile (1996)  Overjustification decreases performance quality as well as intrinsic motivation.

14 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Self-esteem: Self-perception of self-value Self-esteem is the result of the self’s evaluations of the self- concept. Self can be evaluated in part (‘specific’) or whole (‘summary’). Evaluations can be positive, negative, neutral, ambiguous, and ambivalent. ‘State’ and ‘trait’ self-esteem.

15 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self How self-esteem affects us High self-esteem has all sorts of benefits. Conversely, low self-esteem predicts an altogether poorer life experience.

16 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Self-enhancement Four mechanisms to improve self-esteem Self-serving cognitions Self-handicapping Basking in reflected glory Downward social comparison

17 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Self-serving cognitions Schlenker et al. (1990)  People tend to take credit for their own successes and distance themselves from failure. Weinstein (1980)  Unrealistic optimism.  Often ‘explained’ by reference to the person’s particular characteristics (Kunda, 1987).

18 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Self-handicapping If we (i) are unsure of our success on a task we value and (ii) feel we should do well, we may claim or create a handicap to our own performance. We do this in order to (i) build an advance excuse for possible future failure that might otherwise damage our self-esteem and/or (ii) be able to claim additional credit should we nevertheless succeed.

19 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self BIRGing Basking in reflected glory Enhancing self-esteem by identifying or claiming affiliation with a successful group. Cialdini et al. (1976)  BIRGing and CORFing  Used most after threats to individual self-esteem Hirt et al. (1992)  Sometimes, we cannot CORF  This affects out individual functioning

20 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self Downward social comparisons Social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954).  In the absence of objective criteria, people may evaluate themselves relative to similar others. People can use this phenomenon proactively (Wills, 1981). Low or threatened self-esteem  motivated downward social comparison  relatively positive evaluation of self  improved or secured self-esteem This works by demonstrating that:  I am better (off) than someone else.  I am better (off) than I could be.

21 ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self A sequence of self-biases Self-relevant information Automatic emotional assessment Reflective cognitive assessment Verify overrides enhance, if necessary


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