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Chapter 4 The Self Learning about the Self. What is the Self? The set of beliefs we hold about who we are is called the self-concept.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 4 The Self Learning about the Self. What is the Self? The set of beliefs we hold about who we are is called the self-concept."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 4 The Self Learning about the Self

2 What is the Self? The set of beliefs we hold about who we are is called the self-concept.

3 What is the Self? Infancy: one recognizes that one is a separate individual Childhood: one labels personal qualities and abilities Adolescence: the self becomes critically important as a basis for making life decisions Middle & Late Adulthood: the self continues to change, though generally not as extensively

4 What is the Self? Self-esteem is the evaluation we make of ourselves. People who are high in self-concept clarity are more likely to be high in self-esteem. We have an overall sense of self-esteem as well as self-esteem in more specific domains. We also have implicit or less conscious self-esteem as well as explicit self-esteem.

5 Sources of Self-Knowledge Socialization Reflected Appraisal Feedback from Others Self-Perception and Labeling Arousal States Environmental Distinctiveness Comparison of Self and Others Social Identity

6 Sources of Self-Knowledge Labeling Arousal States Schachter (1964) suggested that perception of our own emotions depends on two factors: the degree of physiological arousal we have the cognitive label we apply to that arousal (e.g., angry or happy).

7 Sources of Self-Knowledge Schachter & Singer (1962) gave participants an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline). Half of the injected participants were correctly informed of the arousing effects of the drug; half were misled. A control group received no injection. Participants who were physiologically aroused but not sure why (the misinformed group) “took on” the emotions of a confederate (angry or euphoric).

8 Sources of Self-Knowledge Conceptions of the self vary greatly depending on the culture one lives in. WesternEastern/Latin IndependentInterdependent Emphasizes uniquenessEmphasizes shared attributes Separate from othersEmphasizes social relationships Stable across situations Changing across situations

9 Sources of Self-Knowledge Those with an independent self frequently experience ego-focused emotions such as pride or frustration Those with an interdependent self experience other-focused emotions such as amae Self-esteem is more highly related to life satisfaction in individualistic cultures than in collectivist ones.

10 Aspects of Self-Knowledge Self-schemas describe the dimensions along which you think about yourself. Self-schemas: Guide behavior in relevant situations. Aid memory for relevant information Influence inferences, decisions, & judgments

11 Aspects of Self-Knowledge Possible selves are conceptions of potential future selves. represent hopes and fears for the future help people focus and organize plans for pursuing goals.

12 Aspects of Self-Knowledge Self-Discrepancies Discrepancies between one’s actual self- concept and one’s hoped for ideal selves produce dejection-related emotions. Discrepancies between the actual self and our ought selves produce agitation- related emotions.

13 Aspects of Self-Knowledge People who are more concerned with becoming their ideal selves recall having been raised by their parents in a warm and supportive way Those who are more concerned with their ought selves recall a more rejecting parenting style.

14 Aspects of Self-Knowledge Those with an independent self are more motivated by self-ideal discrepancies Those with an interdependent self are more motivated by actual self- other “ought” discrepancies.

15 Self-Regulation Self-regulations refers to the way in which people control and direct their own actions.

16 Self-Regulation The working self-concept is the aspect of the self-concept that is accessed for a particular situation. Provides a basis for moment-to-moment fluctuations in the sense of self Provides a mechanism through which long-term self-concept change can occur.

17 Self-Regulation Self-Complexity Some people think of themselves in one or two predominant ways; others have more of a variety of qualities they focus on. Those with more simple self-conceptions are more vulnerable to failures in their critical domains. Self-complexity can buffer against the effects of failure, as long as the self-conceptions are also positive.

18 Self-Regulation Self-efficacy beliefs are the expectations we have about our ability to accomplish certain tasks. They are highly specific perceptions of control and competence.

19 Self-Regulation People have two independent motivational systems A behavioral activation system (BAS) that fosters approach A behavioral inhibition system (BIS) that fosters avoidance. People who are high in actual-ideal self- discrepancies may be more BAS-oriented, while those who are high in actual-ought self-discrepancies may be more BIS- oriented.

20 Self-Regulation Self-awareness is the state of being aware of oneself as an object of our own and others’ attention (as opposed to having our attention focused outwardly towards the environment).

21 Self-Regulation Cybernetic theory of self-regulation: Self-awareness leads people to evaluate their behavior against a standard and to adjust their behavior until it either meets the standard or they give up.

22 Self-Regulation Public self-consciousness involves concern with how other people think about you, while private self-consciousness involves attention to inner feelings and self-analysis. The two are independent of each other. Those high in public self-consciousness are concerned with autonomy & identity and are more likely to adjust their behavior to external standards of others Those high in private self-consciousness have better articulated self-schemas and are more focused on internal goals and standards.

23 Motivation and the Self People generally seek an accurate, stable, and positive self-concept.

24 Motivation and the Self The Need for an Accurate Self- Concept People will be motivated to seek information that is most informative about their abilities especially when their knowledge of that ability is uncertain, and when factors that induce people to try to save face are absent.

25 Motivation and the Self The Need for a Consistent Self- Concept People tend to seek out situations that confirm their already-existing self- conceptions and avoid or resist situations and feedback that disconfirm their existing self-beliefs. This process is known as self-verification.

26 Motivation and the Self Self-Improvement People are also motivated by the desire to improve themselves. This may lead to “upward comparisons” with others who possess desired attributes.

27 Motivation and the Self Self-enhancement needs may predominate over needs for accuracy, consistency, and improvement much of the time—especially following threat, failure, and blows to self- esteem. Positive illusions are overly positive perceptions of oneself, one’s future, and one’s control over events.

28 Motivation and the Self People are often self-enhancing. When are people likely to be realistic? When: they are about to receive feedback from others when they make decisions about goals (if they are depressed or low in self- esteem.)

29 Motivation and the Self Taylor and Brown (1988) argue that positive illusions are adaptive and promote a sense of well-being, positive social relationships, and the ability to engage in creative, productive work.

30 Motivation and the Self People from Western cultures are more likely to self-enhance, while those from interdependent cultures may be more likely to engage in self- criticism.

31 Motivation and the Self Self-affirmation theory predicts that people will cope with threats to self-worth by affirming unrelated aspects of themselves. People high in self-esteem may be more likely to use self-affirmation. Self-affirming may help people be less defensive and more accepting of criticism.

32 Motivation and the Self According to terror management theory, people are fearful of their own mortality. They seek to minimize this anxiety by holding a cultural world-view that makes sense of an otherwise threatening world by having personal self-esteem that leads to the sense that one is an object of value in a meaningful universe.

33 Motivation and the Self Tesser’s self-evaluation maintenance model states that other people’s performance reflects on our feelings about ourselves. Our feelings are a function of our own relative performance, our closeness to the other, the personal relevance of the domain.

34 Motivation and the Self When other people we are close to outperform us in a domain that is personally relevant, we compare ourselves to them and feel envious. However, if the domain is not personally relevant, we will “bask in the reflected glory” of the other

35 Motivation and the Self Culture and Self-Enhancement Self-enhancement biases appear stronger in cultures with an independent self-concept than in those with an interdependent self-concept.

36 Social Comparison Theory Leon Festinger (1954) developed social comparison theory: people have a drive to evaluate their opinions and abilities accurately; in the absence of objective standards, people evaluate themselves by comparison with others in general, people prefer comparisons with similar others.

37 Social Comparison Theory The Goals of Social Comparison Accurate Self-Evaluation Self-Enhancement leads to downward social comparisons Self-Improvement leads to upward social comparisons Sense of Communion

38 Social Comparison Theory The Comparison Process Social comparison affects self-evaluations, moods, and responses to others. For example, Morse and Gergen (1970) placed an ad for a research assistant. Prospective candidates found themselves waiting in a room with either “Mr. Clean” or “Mr. Dirty.” Those who found themselves in a room with Mr. Clean experienced a drop in self-esteem, while those who found themselves with Mr. Dirty experienced an increase.

39 Social Comparison Theory Which dimensions do we compare ourselves on? Related attributes similarity: We compare ourselves with others based on a similarity of backgrounds and preparation. When a dimension is completely unfamiliar, people compare themselves to both the best and the worst cases

40 Social Comparison Theory Social comparison can lead us to see ourselves as similar to others (assimilation) or different from them (contrast). Contrast tends to occur when the information comes from the other and when the other is very different Assimilation occurs when we compare similar others to ourselves.

41 Self-Presentation Self-presentation involves attempting to control the impressions we convey to others to obtain desired outcomes. Public self-presentations can affect our private self-concepts. To be successful in self-presentation, we need to be able to “take the role of the other.”

42 Self-Presentation People generally intend to make a good impression. They do this by conforming to the norms of the situation self-promotion ingratiation or flattery

43 Self-Presentation Self-promotion can be tricky, as one tries to avoid appearing egotistical. Modesty is another tricky self- presentation strategy it is most effective when the person has a success that is well-known to others.

44 Self-Presentation Ineffective Self-Presentation Embarrassment occurs when there are disruptions, lapses, or flaws in self- presentation. In the face of an ineffective presentation, one can make excuses. Excuses that attribute blame to external, uncontrollable causes are more effective than those to internal and controllable ones.

45 Self-Presentation Self-handicapping is a strategy for dealing with prospective failure in which a person engages in actions that produce obstacles to success. By arranging an excuse for failure beforehand, people preserve their self-esteem in case of a later failure.

46 Self-Presentation Self-handicapping can be done through either behaviors or verbal claims. Men are much more likely than women to use behavioral self-handicaps, while both sexes use verbal ones. Self-handicapping may work in the short term but has negative long-term consequences for performance and adjustment.

47 Self-Presentation Sandbagging is another preventative strategy that involves feigning inability or making false predictions of lack of success. It reduces performance pressures.

48 Self-Presentation People with independent self-concepts are more likely to engage in self-promotion since their goal is to reduce actual-ideal discrepancies People with interdependent self- conceptions are more likely to engage in preventative self-presentations since their goal is to reduce actual-ought discrepancies

49 Culture and the Self: A Note The coverage of the self in this chapter has disproportionately emphasized the independent self. Many of the processes discussed may take a different form or be nonexistent in cultures with an interdependent self.


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