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Lecture 11

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PSYC 2500
Kim O' Neil

Lecture 11 Self-concept: Who am I? - Origins of self-recognition - The evolving self-concept - The search for identify Origins of self-recognition - By 15 months, infants begin to show self-recognition in mirror task - At 18-24 months, children look more at photos of self than others and refer to self by name or personal pronoun - Awareness of self extends to an understanding of ownership - Self-concept comes from self-awareness • Also understanding that roles are different, and that others behave differently than them • What we believe about our identity is based on our environment and how others view us, and the norms in our society The evolving self-concept - Preschoolers mention concrete characteristics such as physical characteristics, preferences, possessions, and competencies - At 6-8 years, children begin to mention emotions, social groups, and comparisons to others - Adolescents mention attitudes, personality traits, religious/political beliefs, variation with context, and an orientation to the future Developmental changes in self-concept The search for identity - Adolescents use hypothetical reasoning to experiment with different selves - Adolescence characterized by • Self-absorption (concerned with themselves) • Imaginary audience • Personal fable (adolescents often think that their experiences are unique of others— they’re the only one going through a particular situation) • Illusion of invulnerability (adolescents think they’re untouchable (can’t be harmed), which leads to them performing risky behaviors) - Stages of identity: • Diffusion: not concerned about values or beliefs  Younger children are at this stage • Foreclosure: children will adopt a certain identity or beliefs because primary caregivers or those around them have these (e.g., say they’re Catholic because their parents are) • Moratorium: identity crisis  Challenging beliefs, ideas, etc. that you’ve adopted from environment  It’s only in doing this that you can truly discover who you are • Achievement: when you know who you are  Mostly in late adolescents and adulthood Self-esteem - Measuring Self-Esteem - Developmental Change in Self-Esteem - Sources of Self-Esteem - Low Self-Esteem: Cause or Consequence? Measuring self-esteem - One common measure: Self-Perception Profile for Children - Measures overall self-esteem as well as self-esteem in 5 specific areas: • Scholastic competence • Athletic competence • Social acceptance • Behavioral conduct • Physical appearance Sample items and profiles from SPPC Developmental change in self-esteem - Self-esteem is highest in preschoolers - Drops during the elementary school years due to social comparisons • How others react to you, and how you compare to others on many different levels (academically, physical appearance, athletic ability) - Self-esteem sometimes drops during the move to middle school or junior high - Pattern of change in self-esteem varies for different domains - Self-esteem becomes more differentiated - There is a high rate of depression in early adolescents (ages 12-14) • 2% of boys and 6% of girls  Because girls tend to see themselves in a more negative light than boys do  Girls tend to define themselves more in relation to group members or membership and how they’re seen by others • Could be related to higher stressors during this period  As a result of the many changes happening during this period (e.g., hormonal, school, relationship changes)  Family conflict or environmental stressors  Because of attributions (adolescents are more likely to blame themselves for failures—internal attributions) • Storm and stress period in adolescents (p. 372)  Universally false Changes in self-esteem Percentage of children who view selves negatively Sources of self-esteem - Children have higher self-esteem when parents are nurturing and involved and establish rules concerning discipline • Parents level of involvement or responsiveness • If parents respond to children in hostile manner gives the impression that they’re not worthy of care •
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