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1 Defining “Self” The way people think and feel about themselves (Brown, 1998). The way people think and feel about themselves (Brown, 1998). The human.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Defining “Self” The way people think and feel about themselves (Brown, 1998). The way people think and feel about themselves (Brown, 1998). The human."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Defining “Self” The way people think and feel about themselves (Brown, 1998). The way people think and feel about themselves (Brown, 1998). The human self is a self-organizing, interactive system of thoughts, feelings, and motives that characterizes an individual (Hoyle). The human self is a self-organizing, interactive system of thoughts, feelings, and motives that characterizes an individual (Hoyle).

2 2 Self vs. Personality According to Brown: According to Brown: Self is what people think they are like. Personality is what people are actually like.

3 3 History of the Self in Psychological Science William James ( ) William James ( ) –Discussed concepts such as self-concept and self- esteem –Used introspection-observation of one’s own consciousness. Behaviorists (e.g., Watson, Skinner) Behaviorists (e.g., Watson, Skinner) –Dominated American psychology from –Psychology is the science of behavior, not of the mind. –Self relegated to non-scientific psychology. Cognitive Revolution and Re-Emergence of the Self Cognitive Revolution and Re-Emergence of the Self –People are active organisms, capable of planning and initiating behaviors in order to achieve desired end- states.

4 4 Self at the Center of Human Experience ENV  SELF  BEH

5 5 William James’ View of Self 2 Main Components: Me: the self-concept (knowledge and thoughts related to who you think you are). Me: the self-concept (knowledge and thoughts related to who you think you are). I: the perceiver (the part of self that allows you to be consciously aware of who you are). I: the perceiver (the part of self that allows you to be consciously aware of who you are). “I sees Me”

6 6 Three Components of Self- Concept (James) Spiritual Self- your internal perception of who you are. Spiritual Self- your internal perception of who you are. –Personality traits, abilities, interests, feelings, desires. Social Self- how you are perceived by others. Social Self- how you are perceived by others. –Largely based on social roles and group memberships. Material Self- tangible objects, people, or places that carry the designation my or mine. Material Self- tangible objects, people, or places that carry the designation my or mine. –Bodily self –Extracorporeal self

7 7 Cognitive Components of the Self The Self is a collection of knowledge. Network Models Network Models Self-schemas- cognitive generalizations about the self, derived from past experience, that organize and guide the processing of new self-related information (Markus, 1977). Self-schemas- cognitive generalizations about the self, derived from past experience, that organize and guide the processing of new self-related information (Markus, 1977).

8 8 Markus' (1977) Self-Schema studies Step 1: Individuals are categorized as independent, dependent, or aschematic. How would you describe yourself: Dependent Independent Conformist Individualist Follower Leader

9 9 Markus' (1977) Self-Schema studies Step 2 (3-4 weeks later): Judge whether 69 traits are self-descriptive or not (RT measured). Each item presented for 2s. Example: Individualistic: MeNot Me MeNot Me

10 10 Results (Markus, 1977) Self-schemas Allow consistent judgments of self Allow consistent judgments of self Speed up processing of self-relevant info Speed up processing of self-relevant info

11 11 Extensions of Self-Schema Research  Memory  Acceptance of feedback  Judgment of others

12 12 Self-Reference Effect Rogers, Kuiper, & Kirker (1977): Step 1: Step 1: Structural properties:Is kind printed in lowercase letters? Phonemic properties:Does kind rhyme with mind? Semantic properties:Does kind mean the same as nice? Self-relevance:Does kind describe you? Step 2: Surprise recall.

13 13 Self-Reference Effect Information related to the self is more easily recalled. Information related to the self is more easily recalled.

14 14 Working Self-Concept Working self-concept- the portion of the self that is accessible at the moment. Consists of: core self-conceptions (stable across situations). core self-conceptions (stable across situations). tentative self-conceptions (change depending on the situation). tentative self-conceptions (change depending on the situation).

15 15 Self-Complexity (Linville, 1987) “…self-complexity entails cognitively organizing self-knowledge in terms of a greater number of self-aspects and maintaining greater distinctions among self-aspects.” “A complex cognitive representation of the self serves to moderate the adverse physical and mental health effects of stressful events.”

16 16 Motivational Views of Self Self-evaluation motives: Self-enhancement- people want to feel good about themselves. Self-enhancement- people want to feel good about themselves. Accuracy- people want valid info about themselves. Accuracy- people want valid info about themselves. Self-verification- people want info that is consistent with how they view themselves. Self-verification- people want info that is consistent with how they view themselves. Self-improvement- people want to get better. Self-improvement- people want to get better.

17 17 Swann et al. (1987) Method Participants were high or low in social SE Participants were high or low in social SE Task: read a passage from a book while evaluator watches Task: read a passage from a book while evaluator watches Evaluator gives favorable or unfavorable feedback. Evaluator gives favorable or unfavorable feedback. Participants rate the evaluator and their current mood. Participants rate the evaluator and their current mood.

18 18 Swann et al. (1987) Results

19 19 Swann et al. (1987) Results

20 20 Compromises b/w Enhancement and Verification Morling & Epstein (1997; Study 2): Participants were high or low in self-esteem. P’s read scenarios involving potential dating partners: Self-verifying partner Slight or extremely enhancing partner Slight or extremely belittling partner P’s rated immediate gut reactions of liking for each partner And more considerate, deliberate reactions of liking.

21 21 Compromises b/w Enhancement and Verification Immediate Condition

22 22 Compromises b/w Enhancement and Verification Deliberate Condition

23 23 Self-Discrepancy Theory (Higgins, 1987) Three components of self: Actual self- the person you think you are. Actual self- the person you think you are. Ideal self- the person you’d ideally like to be. Ideal self- the person you’d ideally like to be. Ought self- the person you think you should be. Ought self- the person you think you should be.

24 24 Self-Discrepancy Theory (Higgins, 1987) 1. We are motivated to reach a condition where actual self matches our personally relevant self-guides (ideal or ought selves). 2. Self discrepancies have affective consequences. Actual-ideal self discrepancy leads to dejection-related emotions. Actual-ideal self discrepancy leads to dejection-related emotions. Actual-ought self discrepancy leads to agitation-related emotions. Actual-ought self discrepancy leads to agitation-related emotions.

25 25 Experimental Evidence for Self- Discrepancy Theory (Higgins et al., 1986) Participants were students who scored high on both actual-ideal and actual-ought discrepancy and those who scored low on both. Participants were students who scored high on both actual-ideal and actual-ought discrepancy and those who scored low on both. Ideal prime condition: “describe the kind of person you and your parents would ideally like you to be…” Ideal prime condition: “describe the kind of person you and your parents would ideally like you to be…” Ought prime condition: “describe the kind of person you and your parents think you ought to be…” Ought prime condition: “describe the kind of person you and your parents think you ought to be…” DV: pre and post-test mood questionnaire. DV: pre and post-test mood questionnaire.

26 26 Results (Higgins et al., 1986) Ideal priming increased high-discrepancy participants’ dejection. Ideal priming increased high-discrepancy participants’ dejection. Ought priming increased high-discrepancy participants’ agitation. Ought priming increased high-discrepancy participants’ agitation.

27 27 Working Self-Concept Working self-concept- the portion of the self that is accessible at the moment. Consists of: core self-conceptions (stable across situations). core self-conceptions (stable across situations). tentative self-conceptions (change depending on the situation). tentative self-conceptions (change depending on the situation).

28 28 Stability and Malleability of the Self-Concept (Markus & Kunda, 1986) Manipulated similarity vs. uniqueness Manipulated similarity vs. uniqueness e.g., Which card do you prefer? Uniqueness condition: 2 confederates disagree with you on 15/18 trials. Similarity condition: 2 confederates agree with you on 15/18 trials.

29 29 Results, Markus & Kunda (1986) Me/not me judgments for similarity (average, normal, follower) and uniqueness (original, independent, unique) words: No effect of condition on # similarity and uniqueness words endorsed as self-descriptive. No effect of condition on # similarity and uniqueness words endorsed as self-descriptive. But, p’s in the uniqueness condition hit “me” faster for similarity words. But, p’s in the uniqueness condition hit “me” faster for similarity words. P’s in the similarity condition hit “me” faster for uniqueness words and “not me” faster for similarity words. P’s in the similarity condition hit “me” faster for uniqueness words and “not me” faster for similarity words.

30 30 Conclusions Self can be described in cognitive units such as nodes in a network or self-schemas. Self can be described in cognitive units such as nodes in a network or self-schemas. Different social situations activate different portions of the self and different self- motives. Different social situations activate different portions of the self and different self- motives. Motives affect our processing of self-related information and subsequent emotions. Motives affect our processing of self-related information and subsequent emotions. Several theories suggest that the self is resistant to change. Several theories suggest that the self is resistant to change.


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