213.1 How Have Psychologists Studied Personality? Describe the major approaches to the study of personality.Identify theorists associated with the major approaches to the study of personality.Define key terms associated with the major approaches to the study of personality.
3How Have Psychologists Studied Personality? Personality: the characteristic thoughts, emotional responses, and behaviors that are relatively stable in an individual over time and across circumstancesPersonality psychologists explore the influence of culture, learning, biology, and cognition on the development of personality traitsPersonality trait: a characteristic; a dispositional tendency to act in a certain way over time and across circumstancesContemporary psychologists are primarily interested in trait approaches and the biological basis of personality traits
4Psychodynamic Theories Emphasize Unconscious and Dynamic Processes Freud developed many ideas about personality by observing his patientsHe believed their problems were psychogenic: caused by psychological rather than physical factorsPsychodynamic theory: Unconscious forces— wishes, desires, hidden memories—determine behavior
5Unconscious Conflicts Freud believed that our conscious awareness was only a small fraction of our mental activity and that most mental processes are unconsciousLevels of awareness:Conscious: thoughts that we are aware ofPreconscious: content that is not currently in awareness but that could be brought to awarenessUnconscious: contains material that the mind cannot easily retrieveHidden memories, wishes, desires, and motives are often in conflict, which produces anxiety/psychological discomfortTo protect us from this distress, these forces and their conflicts are not accessible; sometimes, however, this information leaks into consciousness
6FIGURE 13.3 Levels of Consciousness Sigmund Freud theorized that mental activity occurred in these three zones. He believed that much of human behavior was influenced by unconscious processes.
7A Structural Model of Personality Personality consists of three interacting structures that vary in their access to consciousness:Id: completely submerged in the unconscious; operates according to the pleasure principle, which is powered by libidoSuperego: internalized societal and parental standards of conductEgo: tries to satisfy the wishes of the id while being responsive to the dictates of the superego; operates according to the reality principleConflicts between the id and the superego lead to anxietyThe ego then copes through various defense mechanisms
9Psychosexual Development Early childhood experiences have a major impact on the development of personalityChildren go through developmental stages that correspond to the different libidinal urges:Oral: birth to 18 months. Infants seek pleasure through the mouthAnal: 2-3 years. Learning to control the bowels leads to a focus on the anusPhallic stage: 3-5 years. Focus is on the genitals; Oedipus complexLatency stage: Children suppress libidinal urgesGenital stage: adolescence/adulthood. Libidinal urges focused on the capacities to reproduce and to contribute to societySome people become fixated at a stage
10Psychodynamic Theory Since Freud A number of influential scholars modified Freud’s ideas in their own psychodynamic theoriesNeo-Freudians: Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Karen HorneyContemporary neo-Freudians focus on social interactions, especially children’s emotional attachments to their parents or primary caregivers (object relations)
11Humanistic Approaches Emphasize Integrated Personal Experience Humanistic approaches: emphasize personal experience, belief systems, the uniqueness of the human condition, and the inherent goodness of each personSelf-actualization: People seek to fulfill their potential for personal growth through greater self-understandingCarl Rogers’ person-centered approach emphasized the importance of people’s subjective understandings of their livesEncouraged parents to raise their children with unconditional positive regard so that they might become fully-functioning people
12FIGURE 13.5 Carl RogersRogers was one of the founders of humanistic psychology. His approach emphasized people’s subjective understandings of their lives.
13Personality Reflects Learning and Cognition George Kelly’s (1955) personal constructs: People have personal theories of how the world worksJulian Rotter’s (1954) expectancy-value approach: Internal/external locus of controlCognitive-social theories of personality: emphasize how personal beliefs, expectancies, and interpretations of social situations shape behavior and personalityMischel’s cognitive-affective personality system (CAPS)Defensive pessimism: people expect to failSelf-regulatory capacities: ability to set personal goals, evaluate, progress, and adjust behavior accordingly
14FIGURE 13.7 CAPS ModelMischel and Shoda proposed this model to account for cognitive-social influences on behavior. What does this model indicate about the relationship between personality traits and behavior?
15Trait Approaches Describe Behavioral Dispositions Personality types: discrete categories of people based on personality characteristicsImplicit personality theories: We assume that certain personality characteristics go together; we make predictions about people based on minimal evidenceTrait approach: focuses on how individuals differ in personality dispositions, such as sociability, cheerfulness, and aggressivenessCattell’s (1965) factor analysis identified 16 basic dimensions of personality
16“Enjoying Aggression” Is aggressive behavior something that sometimes happens just because we like it? As this ScienCentral News report explains, research done on mice suggests we enjoy aggression the same way we enjoy other addictive activities.
17Eysenck’s Hierarchical Model Hans Eysenck proposed a hierarchical model of personalityThe basic structure of this model included:Specific response levelHabitual response levelSuperordinate traitsIntroversion/extraversionEmotional stabilityPsychoticism
18FIGURE 13.8 Hans EysenckEysenck proposed an influential model of personality. He was also one of the leading proponents of the idea that personality is rooted in biology.
19FIGURE 13.9 Eysenck’s Hierarchical Model of Personality This chart shows how Eysenck’s hierarchical model applies to a single trait, extraversion. As shown here, extraversion is a superordinate trait. It is made up of sociability, dominance, assertiveness, activity, and liveliness. Each of these subordinate traits is made up of habitual responses and specific responses.
20The Big FiveFive-factor theory: identifies five basic personality traits (McCrae & Costa, 1999)The “Big Five”: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticismFor each factor, there is a continuum from low to high. Each factor is a higher-order trait that is made up of interrelated lower-order traitsPeople’s “scores” on the Big Five traits have been shown to predict a wide variety of different behaviors (e.g., conscientiousness predicts grades in college)The Big Five approach currently dominates how many psychologists study personality
21FIGURE 13.10 The Big Five Personality Factors The acronym OCEAN is a good way to remember these terms.
2213.2 How Is Personality Assessed, and What Does It Predict about People? Distinguish between idiographic and nomothetic approaches to the study of personality.Distinguish between projective and objective measures of personality.Discuss the accuracy of observers’ personality judgments.Define situationism and interactionism.Distinguish between strong situations and weak situations.Discuss cultural and sex differences in personality.
23How Is Personality Assessed, and What Does It Predict about People? Personality researchers do not agree on the best method for assessing personalityPsychologists measure personality by having people report on themselves, by asking people’s friends or relatives to describe them, or by watching how people behaveEach method has strengths and limitations
24Personality Refers to Both Unique and Common Characteristics Gordon Allport divided the study of personality into two approaches:Idiographic approaches: person-centered approaches to studying personality. Focus is on individual lives and how various characteristics are integrated into unique persons.Henry Murray tried to account for Adolf Hitler’s behavior in Nazi Germany by studying Hitler’s early childhood experiences, his physical stature, and his personal motivationsNomothetic approaches: study of personality that focuses on how common characteristics vary from person to personThe five-factor theory looks at how all people vary on five basic personality traits
25Researchers Use Projective and Objective Methods to Assess Personality Researchers use numerous methods to assess personality ranging from observer reports to self-reports to clinical interviewsThe way researchers choose to measure personality depends to a great extent on their own theoretical orientations (e.g., trait researchers vs. humanistic psychologists)Assessment procedures can be grouped into projective measures and objective measures
26Projective MeasuresProjective measures: personality tests that examine unconscious processes by having people interpret ambiguous stimuliThe general idea is that people will reveal hidden aspects of personality such as motives, wishes, and unconscious conflictsRorschach inkblot testThematic Apperception Test (TAT)
27FIGURE 13.12 Thematic Apperception Test Vintage pictures of this type are used in the TAT.
28Objective MeasuresObjective measures: relatively direct assessments of personality, usually based on information gathered through self-report questionnaires or observer ratingsA questionnaire might target a specific trait, such as how much excitement a person seeks out of life (e.g., sensation seeking)More often, an objective measure will include a large inventory of traits:NEO Personality Inventory consists of 240 items, which are designed to assess the Big Five personality factors.California Q-Sort: Participants are given 100 cards with statements printed on them. They then sort the cards into nine piles according to how accurately the statements describe them.
29Observers Show Accuracy in Trait Judgments How well do observers’ personality judgments predict others’ behavior?Funder (1995) found a surprising degree of accuracy for trait judgments under certain circumstances (e.g., a person’s close acquaintances may predict the person’s behavior more accurately than the person does)Simine Vazire (2010) compared the accuracy of people’s self- judgments with the accuracy of how their friends describe themThe comparative accuracy depends on whether the traits are observable and whether the people being rated are motivated to view themselves positively on the traits
30FIGURE 13.14 Self-Rating and Friends’ Rating for Different Traits In judgments of personality traits, how accurate are people’s self-ratings versus their friends’ ratings? This chart, based on the data from the Vazire (2010) study, shows the average accuracy scores for three types of traits. As shown on the left, self-ratings tend to be more accurate than friends’ ratings for traits that are low in both observability and evaluativeness. As shown in the middle, friends’ ratings tend to be more accurate than self-ratings for traits that are high in observability and low in evaluativeness. As shown on the right, friends’ ratings tend to be especially accurate for traits that are low in observability and high in evaluativeness.
31People Sometimes Are Inconsistent Situationism: the theory that behavior is determined more by situations than by personality traits (Mischel, 1968)Mischel’s critique of personality traits caused considerable rifts between social psychologists, who emphasize situational forces, and personality psychologists, who focus on individual dispositionsThe vigorous response to Mischel’s critique has come to be called the person/situation debatePersonality researchers argued that how much a trait predicts behavior depends on three factors: the centrality of the trait, the aggregation of behaviors over time, and the type of trait being evaluated
32Behavior Is Influenced by the Interaction of Personality and Situation Most trait theorists are interactionists. They believe that behavior is determined jointly by situations and underlying dispositions.A reciprocal interaction occurs between the person and the social environment so that they simultaneously influence each other.Personality reflects a person’s underlying disposition, the activation of the person’s goals in a particular situation, and the activation of the person’s emotional responses in the pursuit of those goals.
33FIGURE 13.15a Strong and Weak Situations (a) A strong situation, such as a funeral, tends to discourage displays of personality.
34FIGURE 13.15b Strong and Weak Situations (b) A weak situation, such as hanging out with friends, tends to let people behave more freely.
35There Are Cultural and Sex Differences in Personality Schmitt, Allik, McCrae, & Benet-Martinez, (2007) investigated personality differences across 56 nationsThey found that the Big Five personality traits are valid across all the countries, with modest differences across themResearch findings have made clear that self-reports often do not match cultural stereotypes about the respondentsWomen and men are more similar than different, but the differences between them largely support the stereotypesSex differences in personality are largest in North America and Europe and smallest in Asian and African communities
36FIGURE 13.16 Cross-Cultural Research on Personality Traits A team of more than 120 scientists investigated the Big Five personality traits around the world, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. This chart presents some of their findings.
3713.3 What Are the Biological Bases of Personality? Review research assessing personality traits among nonhuman animals.Summarize the results of twin studies and adoption studies as those results pertain to personality.Identify the genetic basis of novelty seeking, neuroticism, and agreeableness.Identify distinct temperaments.Discuss the neurobiological basis of extraversion/introversion.Summarize the results of research on personality stability across time.
38What Are the Biological Bases of Personality? Genes, brain structures, and neurochemistry play an important role in determining personalityGenetic makeup may predispose certain traits or characteristics, but whether these genes are expressed depends on the unique circumstances that people face during their development
39“Generosity Hormone”Scientists have found that a hormone makes people more generous. As this ScienCentral News video explains, it’s a brain hormone, and it even makes people more generous to strangers.
40Animals Have Personalities Animals, across circumstances, might display consistent individual differences in behaviors, and those individual differences might reflect underlying biological bases of personality (Gosling, 2001)Findings of 19 studies that assessed multiple personality traits in nonhuman animals (e.g., from household pets to chimps) found evidence of traits similar to extraversion, neuroticism, and agreeableness in most species; only chimpanzees showed any signs of conscientiousness (Gosling & John, 1999)Dogs’ personalities can be rated with impressive accuracy
41“Monkeys Show Their Generous Side” The idea that “it’s better to give than receive” may not be limited to humans. Now, as this ScienCentral News video explains, researchers have found a group of monkeys that seem to get pleasure from giving.
42“Dog Personality”Do canines have character? As this ScienCentral News video reports, according to one psychologist, personality testing is going to the dogs.
43FIGURE 13.17 Scientific Method: Gosling’s Study of Personality in Animals
44FIGURE 13.18a Do Dogs Have Personalities? Which is friendlier, (a) a golden retriever or (b) a rottweiler? How might you test your hypothesis?
45FIGURE 13.18b Do Dogs Have Personalities? Which is friendlier, (a) a golden retriever or (b) a rottweiler? How might you test your hypothesis?
46Personality Is Rooted in Genetics There is overwhelming evidence that nearly all personality traits have a genetic component (Plomin & Caspi, 1999)Across a wide variety of traits, identical twins are much more similar than fraternal twinsIdentical twins receive more-similar treatment than other siblings, and that treatment can explain some of the similarity in personality
47FIGURE 13.19 Correlations in Twins Researchers examined correlations between 123 pairs of identical (monozygotic) twins and 127 pairs of fraternal (dizygotic) twins in Vancouver, Canada. This chart summarizes some of their findings.
48Adoption StudiesChildren who are not biologically related and who are raised in the same household as adopted siblings tend to be no more alike in personality than any two strangersPersonalities of adopted children bear no significant relationship to those of the adoptive parentsFindings suggest that parenting style may have relatively little impact on personalitySimilarities in personality between biological siblings and between children and their biological parents seem to have some genetic component
49Are There Specific Genes For Personality? Genes predispose us to have certain personality traits associated with behavioral tendenciesIn most cases, researchers note the influence of multiple genes that interact independently with the individual’s environment to produce general dispositionsEvidence suggests that genes can be linked with some specificity to personality traits.Example: A gene that regulates one particular dopamine receptor has been associated with novelty seeking (Cloninger, Adolfsson, & Svrakic, 1996; Ekelund, Lichtermann, Jaervelin, & Peltonen, 1999)
50Temperaments Are Evident in Infancy Genes help produce biological differences in personality called temperamentsTemperaments are general tendencies to feel or act in certain ways; they represent the innate biological structures of personalityThree personality characteristics considered as temperaments:Activity level: overall amount of energy and behavior a person exhibitsEmotionality: intensity of emotional reactionsSociability: general tendency to affiliate with others
51“Wild Young Brains”Are violence and aggression genetic or a response to upbringing? As this ScienCentral News video reports, psychologists say the answer is both—but parenting can shape the effects of children’s genes.
52Long-Term Implications of Temperaments Early childhood temperaments significantly influence behavior and personality structure throughout a person’s development (Caspi, 2000)Researchers investigated the health, development, and personalities of more than 1,000 people born during a particular period; individuals were examined approximately every two years, with 97 percent remaining in the study through their 21st birthdaysAt 3 years of age, they were classified into temperamental types based on examiners’ ratingsThe classification at age 3 predicted personality structure and a variety of behaviors in early adulthood
53FIGURE 13.20 Predicting Behavior Researchers investigated the personality development of more than 1,000 people. As shown in these graphs, the individuals judged undercontrolled at age 3 were later more likely to be antisocial, to have alcohol problems, and to be criminals than those judged either well adjusted or inhibited. In each graph, the dotted line indicates the average for the entire sample.
54Personality Is Linked to Specific Neurophysiological Mechanisms Temperaments affect how the child responds to and shapes her or his environment; in turn, the child’s environment and temperament interact to shape the child’s personalityDifferences between personalities may reflect differences in the relative activation of different biological systems (Canli, 2006)Most research on the neurobiological underpinnings of personality has explored the dimension of extraversion/introversion
55Arousal and Extraversion/ Introversion Eysenck believed that differences in cortical arousal produce the behavioral differences between extraverts and introvertsCortical arousal, or alertness, is regulated by the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS)Eysenck proposed that the system of reticular activation differs between extraverts and introverts, with the resting levels of the ARAS higher for introverts than for extravertsThe visible biological difference between introverts and extraverts appears to be their level of arousability, or how much they react to stimuliIntroverts are more arousable
56Behavioral Activation and Inhibition Systems Gray (1987) proposed that personality is rooted in two motivational functions: the behavioral approach system and the behavioral inhibition system:Behavioral approach system (BAS): consists of the brain structures that lead organisms to approach stimuli in pursuit of rewards; this is the “go” systemBehavioral inhibition system (BIS): Because it is sensitive to punishment, the BIS inhibits behavior that might lead to danger or pain; this is the “stop” systemExtraverts have a stronger BAS than BIS, which means extraverts are more influenced by rewards than by punishmentsImaging research shows that each of the Big Five personality traits is associated with different brain regions (DeYoung et al., 2010)
57FIGURE 13.21 Behavioral Approach System and Behavioral Inhibition System As depicted in this diagram, signals of potential reward are processed by the behavioral approach system. Signals of potential punishment are processed by the behavioral inhibition system. Based on the information each system receives, the BAS activates behavior and the BIS inhibits behavior. The activation or inhibition comes about partly through the influence of the BAS or BIS on how the person feels, such as her or his state of arousal.
58Personality Is Adaptive From an evolutionary standpoint, personality traits useful for survival and reproduction may have been favored:Being competitive has enabled individuals to obtain great rewards or to enjoy increased value in their social groupsTraits provide important information about desirable and undesirable qualities in matesAnother possible explanation for individual differences is related to the skills possessed by members of groupsGroups whose members possess diverse skills (e.g., novelty seekers versus more cautious members) have a selective advantage over groups whose members have a limited number of skills (Caporael, 2001)
59Personality Traits Are Stable over Time How much can/do people change over time?Continuity over time and across situations is inherent in the definition of trait, and most research finds personality traits to be remarkably stable over the adult life span (Heatherton & Weinberger, 1994)Research suggests that personality changes somewhat in childhood but becomes more stable by middle age
60FIGURE 13.23 The Stability of Personality This graph shows the levels of consistency of the study participants’ personalities. Participants ranged in age from newborn to 73.
61Age-Related ChangeWith age, people become less neurotic, less extraverted, and less open to new experiences; they also tend to become more agreeable and more conscientious (Srivastava, John, Gosling, & Potter, 2003)Age-related changes in personality occur independently of environmental influences; therefore that personality change may be based in human physiology
62FIGURE 13.24 Conscientiousness at Different Ages in Five Cultures Note that bars are missing from this graph because data were not available for the 14–17 age group in Spain and the 22–29 age group in Turkey.
63Characteristic Adaptations Basic tendencies are dispositional traits determined largely by biological processes; they are very stableCharacteristic adaptations are adjustments to situational demands; they tend to be somewhat consistent because they are based on skills, habits, roles, etc.Overall, personality appears to be relatively stable, especially among adults, with stability of situations likely contributing to the stability of personality
64“Set in Your Ways”Contrary to popular belief, your personality may not be set in stone by the time you’re thirty. As this ScienCentral News video reports, a survey shows some traits that may keep changing in later years.
65FIGURE 13.25 McCrae and Costa’s Model of Personality As shown on the left side of this model, basic tendencies are biologically based. As represented by the complications in the middle and on the right, characteristic adaptations are influenced by basic tendencies and by situations. The arrows indicate some of the ways in which the different components of personality interact. According to this model, do basic tendencies change across situations? Does objective biography (observable behavior) change? If change occurs in either case, what factors can influence that change?
6613.4 How Do We Know Our Own Personalities? Differentiate between self awareness, self-schema, the working self-concept, and self-esteem.Review theories of self-esteem.Discuss research findings regarding the association between self-esteem and life outcomes.Identify strategies people use to maintain positive self- views.Discuss cultural differences in the self-concept and the use of self-serving biases.
67How Do We Know Our Own Personalities? Each of us has a notion of something we call the “self”The sense of self involves:mental representations of personal experiences (memories and perceptions)a sense of one’s physical bodya conscious awareness of being separate from others and uniqueThis sense of self is a unitary experience, continuous over time and space
68FIGURE Sense of SelfEach of us has a self-concept. One component of that sense is physical appearance.
69Our Self-Concepts Consist of Self-Knowledge Your self-concept is everything you know about yourselfMany psychologists view the self-concept as a cognitive knowledge structure that guides a person’s attention to relevant information and helps them adjust to their environmentExample: If you think of yourself as shy, you might avoid a raucous party. If you believe yourself to be optimistic, you might easily bounce back from a poor grade in organic chemistry.
70Self-AwarenessJames and Mead differentiated between the self as the knower (“I”) and the self as the object that is known (“me”)Psychologists now call the self that is known the objectified self, which is the knowledge the subject holds about itselfThe sense of self as the object of attention is the psychological state known as self-awarenessDuval and Wicklund’s theory of objective self-awarenessHiggins’s self-discrepancy theorySelf-awareness depends on normal development of the frontal lobes
71Self-SchemaEach person processes information about himself or herself deeply, thoroughly, and automaticallySelf-schema: The cognitive aspect of the self- concept; A network of interconnected knowledge about the selfSelf-schema help us filter, perceive, organize, interpret, and use information about the selfThe brain: When people process information about themselves, there is activity in the middle of the frontal lobes; The greater the activation of this area during the self-referencing, the more likely the person is to remember the item later during a surprise memory task
72FIGURE Self-SchemaAs this example illustrates, the self-schema consists of interrelated knowledge about the self. Here the concepts that overlap with the self—student, daughter, and sister—are most strongly related to the self. Concepts connected to self with a solid line—Type A, movies, soccer, and brunette—are not quite as strongly related to self-knowledge. Clothing, connected to self with a dotted line, is connected more weakly. Concepts with no connecting lines do not relate to the self.
73FIGURE 13.28 The Self and Frontal Lobe Activity This brain scan comes from the 2002 study by Kelley and colleagues. The colored area is the brain area that was active when people made trait judgments about themselves.
74Working Self-ConceptPsychologists refer to the immediate experience of the self as the working self-conceptSelf-descriptions vary depending on which memories you retrieve, which situation you are in, which people you are with, and your role in that situationWhen people consider who they are or think about different features of their personalities, they often emphasize characteristics that make them distinct from others
75Perceived Social Regard Influences Self-Esteem Self-esteem is the evaluative aspect of the self- conceptPeople can objectively believe positive things about themselves without liking themselves very much; people can have high self-esteem, even when objective indicators do not support such positive self- viewsReflected appraisal: Self-esteem is based on how we believe others perceive usPeople internalize the values and beliefs expressed by important people in their lives; they adopt those attitudes (and related behaviors) as their own
76Sociometer TheoryLeary and colleagues (1995) propose that self-esteem is a mechanism for monitoring the likelihood of social exclusionHumans have a fundamental, adaptive need to belong: Those who belong to social groups are more likely to survive and reproduce than those who are excluded and left to survive on their ownSelf-esteem is a sociometer, an internal monitor of social acceptance or rejectionWhen people behave in ways that increase the likelihood that they will be rejected, they experience a reduction in self-esteemIf probability of rejection remains low, the person will probably not worry about how he or she is perceived by others
77FIGURE SociometersAccording to sociometer theory, self-esteem is the gauge that measures the extent to which a person believes he or she is being included in or excluded from a social group. (a) If the probability of rejection seems low, the person’s self-esteem will tend to be high. (b) If the probability of rejection seems high, the person’s self-esteem will tend to be low.
78Self-Esteem and Death Anxiety Terror management theory: Self-esteem gives meaning to people’s lives, protects them from the horror associated with knowing they eventually will diePeople counter their fears of mortality by creating a sense of symbolic immortality through contributing to their culture and upholding its valuesResearch has demonstrated that reminding people of their mortality leads them to act in ways that enhance their self-esteem (Goldenberg, McCoy, Pyszczynski, Greenberg, & Solomon, 2000)
79“Real Worries”We may have nothing to fear but fear itself. But, as this ScienCentral News video reports, even that can be deadly.
80Self-Esteem and Life Outcomes Having high self-esteem seems to make people happier, but it does not necessarily lead to successful social relationships or life successDownsides to having very high self-esteem:Violent criminals and bullies commonly have high self-esteemWhen people with high self-esteem believe their abilities have been challenged, they may act in ways that cause other people to dislike themA personality trait associated with inflated self-esteem is narcissismBecause narcissists’ greatest love is for the self, they tend to have poor relations with others (Campbell, Bush, Brunell, & Shelton, 2005)
81We Use Mental Strategies to Maintain Our Views of Self Most people show favoritism to anything associated with themselvesExample: A study showed people prefer the letters of their own names, especially their initials, to other letters (Koole, Dijksterhuis, & van Knippenberg, 2001)Sometimes these positive views of the self seem inflated:When the College Entrance Examination Board surveyed more than 800,000 college-bound seniors, not a single senior rated herself or himself as below average, whereas a whopping 25 percent rated themselves in the top 1 percent (Gilovich, 1991)This phenomenon is known as the better-than-average effect
82FIGURE FavoritismThis graph shows the study participants’ ratings of the letters of the alphabet.
83Self-Evaluative Maintenance Self-esteem can be affected by how people perform, how relevant their performances are to their self-concepts, and how their performances compare with those of significant people around themTheory of self-evaluative maintenance: People can feel threatened when someone close to them outperforms them on a task that is personally relevantSelf-evaluative maintenance causes people to exaggerate or publicize their connections to winners and to minimize or hide their relations to losers
84Social ComparisonsSocial comparison: when people evaluate their own actions, abilities, and beliefs by contrasting them with other people’sPeople with high self-esteem tend to make downward comparisons; people with low self- esteem tend to make upward comparisonsPeople use a form of downward comparison when they recall their own pasts: They often view their current selves as better than their former selves (Wilson & Ross, 2001)
85FIGURE 13.33 Rating the Self Across Time This graph shows the results of Wilson and Ross’s 2001 study.
86Self-Serving BiasesPeople with high self-esteem tend to take credit for success but blame failure on outside factorsSelf-serving bias: the tendency for people to take personal credit for success but blame failure on external factorsWe are extremely well-equipped to protect our positive beliefs about ourselves, with some researchers arguing that self-serving biases reflect healthy psychological functioning
87“Feeling Good and Grades” When it comes to education, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? As this ScienCentral News video reports, education researchers are questioning whether high self-esteem brings academic success or the other way around.
88There Are Cultural Differences in the Self An important way in which people differ in self-concept is whether they view themselves as fundamentally separate from or connected to other peopleCollectivist cultures emphasize connections to family, to social groups, and to ethnic groups; conformity to societal norms; and group cohesivenessIndividualist cultures emphasize rights and freedoms, self-expression, and diversityPeople in collectivist cultures have interdependent self- construalsPeople in individualist cultures have independent self- construals
89FIGURE 13.34 Cultural Differences in Self-Construals Self-construals differ across cultures. (a) In individualist cultures, the most important elements of a person’s self-construal tend to reside within the person. (b) In collectivist cultures, the most important elements of a person’s self-construal tend to reside in areas where the person’s sense of self is connected with others.
90Culture and Self-Serving Bias There has been a lively debate among psychologists concerning the question of whether self-serving bias is universalSome suggest that self-enhancement may be as much a part of human nature as eatingHeine and colleagues (1999) have argued, however, that the self-serving bias may be more common in Western cultures than in Eastern culturesWestern cultures emphasize individuality. Believing that someone is an especially talented individual presupposes that some people are better than others, which is an attitude that is not acceptable in Eastern cultures
91FIGURE 13.35a Individualist versus Collectivist Cultures (a) Western cultures tend to highlight individual success.
92FIGURE 13.35b Individualist versus Collectivist Cultures (b) Eastern cultures tend to value those who fall in line with the masses.