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Lecture 11

PSYC 332 Lecture 11: PSYC 332 - lecture 11
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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 332
Professor
Richard Koestner
Semester
Winter

Description
PSYC 332 – lecture 11 (2017/04/03) The Wimpy Kid and Justin Bieber: Distinguishing Self-Esteem and Narcissism Missing ingredients in McAdams’s Framework?  Self-esteem  90 minute lecture by Dr. Koestner  Collective self-esteem and collective identity  60 minute lecture by Frank Kachenoff o PhD student in his final year o Working with Don Taylor, cross cultural researcher who believes that personality psychologists focus too much on the individual and not enough on the collective o He would suggest that how we feel about ourselves and who we are has a lot to deal with how we feel about the groups we belong to Questions of the day Should self-esteem be part of McAdams Personality Framework? How to distinguish self-esteem and narcissism? Does the Wimpy Kid have healthy self-esteem? Is Justin Bieber a narcissist? What is the best way to think about self-esteem in our own lives?  Baumeister suggests that we stop focusing on self- esteem. We should definitely not focus on boosting it as it can do damage to children. Personal examples showing the complexity of self-esteem  About 10 years ago, prof’s mum was cleaning out the basement and found a bunch of paperback books which belonged to him  He got excited because these were all books that he loved when he was a teenager  Writing my name on my paperback books as a teenager. On every book, he wrote “The Great Rich Koestner”, “Rich Koestner the Great”, and Rich “The Great Koestner”  He was trying to re-assure himself because at the time, he wasn’t feeling so great about himself  he was lower in self-esteem at this point in his life  When he was going to school at Columbia University, he met his best friend while traveling back and forth on the subway  His friend was highly extroverted and was always meeting new ppl  as a consequence, prof was also meeting new ppl  He pointed out that prof would always make comments to put himself down and this inspired his friend’s PhD thesis  Interpersonal Consequences of Overt Self-Criticism: A Comparison With Neutral and Self-Enhancing Presentations of Self o He didn’t want to know how it developed but rather, its effect on ppl o Just as ppl who are depressed behave in ways that can tend to push others away, he wanted to know if ppl who self-criticize do the same thing Study:  University students were brought into the lab – they were going to perform a dyadic task (giving clues about word pairs)  The person they were performing the task with was presented as another ppt but they were actually a confederate  Confederate was trained to do a task and either be self-criticizing, self-enhanced, or neutral.  Outcome measures: how the ppt reacted and what their thoughts were about the confederate o Assessed the private and public evaluations of competence and likeability Confederate comments during referential communication task:  Self-critic o I’m not very good at these things o I don’t think my clues are very good  Prof would have fallen into this category at the time  Self-enhancer o Here’s the perfect one o I think I am pretty good at these  Neutral o I think my clues are ok  Results: o If you’re a self-criticizer and you’re meeting someone for the first time, it is likely that they will boost you up after hearing you speak negatively about yourself o The problem is that when asked what they think of you, they feel that you are sad, pathetic, have poor social skills and probably do not want to work with you again o When the person is self-enhancing, the ppt seems to be going along with you and agreeing with you but when asked privately about how they feel, they say “this person is not as good as they think they are” and “I don’t like this person, I don’t want to work with them again” o So neither extreme works positively in our favour Example from Wimpy Kid Book #1 (Greg)  A funny little book series, usually liked by boys more than girls th  About a kid who always seems to be stuck in 6 grade  highly concerned about social standing and popularity  Diary style books that usually begin on the first day of school  He is quite preoccupied with which seat he gets on the first day of class  it will determine how the year will unfold  On the first day, you either want to sit beside someone you like or who is cool. He got stuck sitting beside two morons. All the boys are obsessed with being popular with the girls.  Middle school is the age of self-consciousness, popularity and self-esteem  There are some cognitive changes that allow us to understand how others think of us  Prof would suggest that is it in 6, 7, 8 grade that self-esteem might really become an issue If you wanted to measure self-esteem… Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale  Some controversy about the best method to measure self-esteem.  Ppl are unsure as to whether you should rely on self-report for this measure  Maybe you should measure it implicitly  Prof gives the example of ppl’s responses to different letters of the alphabet  someone with high self-esteem will have preference for their initials  10 item scale, ratings 1-4 (1 = strongly agree, 4 = strongly disagree) o On the whole, I am satisfied with myself o At times I think I am no good at all o I feel that I have a number of good qualities o I am able to do things as well as most other ppl o I feel I do not have much to be proud of o I certainly feel useless at times o I feel that I’m a person of worth, at least on an equal basis with others  As a parent, you want your kid to feel like this otherwise it can be worrisome o I wish I could have more respect for myself o All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure o I take a positive attitude toward myself  Prof feels that there is some validity to these items  You don’t just want to look at the level of self-esteem but how it fluctuates too  Prof took the test again this year and scored 26/30  He’s on the higher side (70 percentile) of self-esteem  Anyone who scores low on this has reason for concern Why McAdams doesn’t include self-esteem?  It is better thought of as an outcome variable reflective of adjustment or wellbeing. o It can be separated from personality and it is probably something that comes as a consequence of personality factors and how you’re living your life  Prof agrees with this but the next thing he mentions is even more impactful – self-esteem is already hidden in the framework  Thinking back to levels 1, 2, 3, you can probably already get a sense of someone’s self-esteem: o By their attachment style o Self-esteem has 0.4-0.5 correlation with E o If you break E down into social dominance and social vitality, you can find an even higher correlation (0.75) with social dominance and assertiveness  they report high self-esteem  It seems to covary with one big 5 trait very strongly  E (social dominance aspect)  Scale for social confidence and assertiveness: o Self confident, feels superior, takes a stand, ambitious, stands up well under pressure, forward, not timid o Correlation between these items and self-esteem = 0.8  To take a guess at what your level of self-esteem is, it is probably close to how you would score on half of E  The flip side of this is if you increase in assertiveness, your self-esteem will increase as well o This happened to prof o He feels that self-esteem is 75% connected to social dominance and 25% connected to how your life is going and whether you’re seeing success Baumeister’s Critique of Self-Esteem:  Baumeister stopped doing self-esteem research bc he realised that self-esteem is not really driving things o When you do prospective studies of self-esteem and academic or social success, the self-esteem follows the success, it doesn’t precede it o It doesn’t predict changes in outcomes, instead it reflect whether your life is changing  Associations with successful outcomes is spurious  not meaningful.  He also found negative behaviours associated with high self-esteem: profligate behaviours (overconfidence and being aggressive/antisocial)  Benefits of self-esteem?  there are only two clear benefits o Happiness – positive affect o Initiative – the problem is that some of the things they initiate, are detrimental to their health (teenagers are more likely to drink, take drugs, have unprotected sex)  Baumeister feels that we have wasted so much time thinking and caring about self-esteem and its enhancement but we should really be focusing instead on self-control  Teaching kids how to have self-control will allow them to do better academically, socially and it will help to improve their self-esteem  Prof does see the value in some of the items in the Rosenberg scale, however, as if he had seen that his daughter had scored low, he would want to know in order to take action  Scoring particularly highly on the scale doesn’t mean that you have a healthy attitude, it could mean that you’re being defensive about how you view yourself or that you are a narcissist  Narcissism is also associated with the big five o Ppl high in E and social dominance are more likely to be high in narcissism From Self-esteem to Narcissism The case of Justin Bieber  He has an interesting origin story: Canadian, grew up in Ontario, approx. 21 years old, his mum had a difficult adolescence, experienced a breakdown and in the hospital became a born-again Christian  After leaving the hospital, she had renewed purpose in her life, met a man, got married and had Justin but sometime after, he husband left her  He was raised by a single mum, family wasn’t very well off but he had a huge interest in singing and performing  From the age of 8 or 9, he was already trying to write songs and perform in any way that he could so by the time he was 16-18, he was already an international success  Over the years, he developed a reputation for not being “so sweet”  In 2014, he had a world tour which was surrounded by controversy and he was going to be banned from the USA bc he was trashing all of his hotel rooms before leaving  He also traveled with a posse and if ever fans or paps got close, they would get aggressive and physical  There were even some civil suits associated with this  Additionally, there were car accidents  Early clips: o Justin Bieber when he was young sitting outside playing acoustic guitar and singing o His mother gets interviewed on a religious show, he is 14 at the time, she is talking about how he is the most popular YouTuber in Canada and in the top 10 in the world, he was being courted by Justin Timberlake and Usher’s labels o He comes out on the stage and all the women are fawning over him  Later clips: 4 years later – deposition prior to going to trial o We see Justin sitting in a high back chair, swiveling from side to side, not making much eye contact when spoken to, fixing his collar and looking into the camera, sometimes he even winks o “I don’t have to listen to anything you have to say”, he fixes his hair and gives snarky remarks to every question  just generally behaving like a wise ass. o When the opposition tries to show him video footage, he is asked “to watch the film” and he responds with “is this a film?” and doesn’t bother to watch the screen  Justin is taking the word film to mean a piece of cinema  He is being surly, antagonistic/obstinate, behaving like “an annoying teenager”  What could his behaviour be attributed to? o It’s important to look at profligate and impulsive behaviour o Exploitative behaviour  Prof doesn’t remember where he read this or if it is even true but he saw that if you go to a Bieber concert, you can pay $2000 to get a selfie taken with him but there are three rules  Under no circumstances shall you touch him  Under no circumstances shall you talk to him  Under no circumstances shall you look at him  Violate any of the three rules, and the posse will eject you and keep your money  Prof shows us a series of pics of his daughter at “playlist live” taking selfies as part of the meet and greet  there is touching and communication with the “celebrities” o Is it just normal behaviour (age-related)?  The frustrating style he is taking with respect to authority figures is not uncommon in teens o Is it drug related?  Many superstars have easy access to drugs o Could it be role related?  Wherever he goes, ppl follow him, chase after him and fawn over him  Perhaps if we had that kind of attention, we might behave like this as well o Does it reflect narcissism?  There are other performers who started at a young age and didn’t show these types of behaviours: Usher, Justin Timberlake Survey assessment of narcissism: NPI In each of the following pairs, choose the one that you MOST AGREE with. Mark your answer by writing either A or B in the space provided. Only mark one answer for each attitude pair.  Answering these questions will give you information about your subclinical rating of narcissism  This is a forced choice type of questionnaire where both options are equally desirable/undesirable  no easy option to choose so that you don’t present as a narcissist  In the full version, there are 40 items 2013 Word of the year: Selfie  “Photo one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”  70% think it is narcissistic to be taking selfies, 11% feel like it is self- expression and 16% didn’t have an opinion  Prof’s selfies  get the face with a smile and some of the background in there  Justin Bieber is famous for his selfies  he is never smiling, there is some intensity in his face and some ppl view this as being sexy Definition of Personality Disorder  Lasing, stable maladaptive pattern of behaviour and inner experience that markedly deviates from a person’s culture and is manifested in areas such as inappropriate emotions and cognitions, lack of impulse-control, and chronic deficiencies in interpersonal functioning. o Recognisable by childhood or adolescence and continues throughout most of adult life o Significant, long-term impairment in work and relationships o It seemed that Justin’s behaviour was going to impair his work in 2014  prof thought he was going to have a drug OD or fatal car accident but he has made an amazing comeback  Narcissism Personality Disorder: You need 5/9 criteria from the DSM5  How would Justin score on Narcissism? o 30/40 (NPI)  many items focused on one’s own body which he scores very highly on o Items about impact and accomplishment. o Average score  15 o Celebrities  18 o Reality TV performers score the highest  24  Prof had concluded that this is not healthy self-esteem, it is narcissistic and maladaptive behaviour (he has since revised his opinion and we will discuss it towards the end) Video Clips; Jean Twenge  Narcissism = having an inflated sense of self  Self-centered, self-important – not necessarily at clinical level  Self-esteem is confidence. Narcissism is overconfidence.  difference between the two  Are narcissists insecure deep down inside?  No. We can do implicit studies (reaction time) in which they still exhibit narcissistic tendencies.  Have high self-esteem but only in individual areas, not in caring traits o High self-esteem ppl place a lot of importance in their relationships while narcissists don’t find caring and compassion to be important  Narcissists take advantage of others and use them for their own personal gain  Lack of empathy, aggression towards others  Worked with a few of her colleagues in order to code lyrics from the top 10 songs since the 80s o I, me, mine  significant increase in the use of these lyrics from 1980-2007 o We, us  significant decrease over the same time period  Same for social words o She gives distinct examples of Justin Timberlake singlehandedly bringing Sexy Back and Carrie Underwood breaking the windshield of her boyfriend’s car so he thinks twice next time before cheating  Change in narcissism from 1982-2009 in the USA (university students) o 30% answered majority of items in narcissistic direction by 2009 (was only about 18% in the early 1980s) o Clear linear increase over time o Moderate in statistical terms  Prof says that the most controversial thing about The Narcissism Epidemic is the claim that narcissism is increasing in recent generations  Some researchers have contradicted these findings  Twenge replied by focusing on the universities in which they did not observe the increase in narcissism o These were universities in which there was a dramatic increase of Asians attending university o A common finding is that ppl with an Asian background are much less likely to rate themselves in self- enhancing ways and far more likely to even rate themselves in self-critical ways o When she separated out the Asians from the other students, she was able to show that there in fact was an increase in narcissism Psychodynamic theory  The idea is that there is a healthy form of narcissism that we have as young kids  But Twenge and others would agree that it’s not healthy not to care about other ppl – it is diminishing and dismissing the emotions and concerns of others Myths of Narcissism  Narcissism is really just high self-esteem.  Narcissists are insecure and really have low self-esteem.  Narcissists really are objectively great, talented, and beautiful.  Some narcissism is healthy.  Narcissism is just physical vanity. Confidence vs. Overconfidence:  Narcissists are overly confident  take too many risks.  The problem is that narcissism doesn’t help you succeed. If you have an unrelated expectation of self and not caring of others, it backfires. Narcissism and Big 5 Traits Paulhaus et al, 2002 – Dark Triad In this study, the big 5 were measured followed by completion of the 40 item narcissism questionnaire. He also measured cognitive ability, self-enhancement and “overclaiming” Remember that self-esteem correlates very highly with E but self-esteem also correlates very highly with narcissism (r=0.7). If you looked only at the social dominance aspect, prof’s guess is that it would be much higher that what we see in the results. Narcissists are not agreeable. They are quarrelsome and certainly not pro-social. Lastly, O is significantly positively related to narcissism (article doesn’t explain this).  In order to understand this, let’s go back to the scale used to measure the big 5 o Item 5: I’m original and I come up with new ideas o Item 15: I’m ingenious, a deep thinker  He could see a narcissist endorsing these o Item 20: I have an active imagination – not t
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