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Lecture 2

PSYC 333 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Asteroid Family, Interrupt, Barnum Effect


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 333
Professor
Jennifer Bartz
Lecture
2

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PSYC333 Lecture 2 - Jan. 12
Multiple Selves:
A man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him and
carry an image of him in their mind.” - James, 1892
Which Self Am I Now?:
Phenomenal self (Jones & Gerard, 1967)
Small portion of (self) knowledge that is the current focus of awareness
Spontaneous self concept (McGuire, 1984)
Distinctiveness Theory:
A person notices her or his distinctive traits and personal characteristics more
readily because of their greater informational richness and value for discriminating
self from others:
Not very useful to describe yourself as a McGill student in a class of McGill stu-
dents
Example #1: Atypical attributes:
6th grade students atypical in age, hair colour, eye colour, weight and birthplace
mention these attributes more than those with typical characteristics
Example #2: Ethnicity:
People are more likely to mention ethnicity and things that separate themselves
from others
Example #3: Gender:
Gender: function of household sex composition
26% of minority sex in classroom mention gender, 11% of majority
Example #4: (Cota & Dion, 1986)
Create ad hoc 3 person groups in the lab:
All males
All females
1 male, 2 female (distinctiveness condition)
1 female; 2 males (distinctiveness condition)
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Who describes themselves by gender?
34% (distinctiveness condition) vs. 16% (non-distinctive condition)
Implications:
Different situations can activate different schemas and this produces different
versions of the self
People can be manipulated by having them comb through their stock of self
views in a biased manner
Sheds light on how the self concept can be changed
Dynamic Self-Concept: (Markus & Wurf, 1987)
Self is a collection of representations/schemas about the self
“Working self-concept” is that set of representations (body of knowledge) that is ac-
cessible at any one moment
Core self conceptions are imbedded in a context of more tentative self concep-
tions that are tied to prevailing circumstances
Some of the ideas about the self is more central to the self; others more peripheral,
but only a small subset of that is in the current focus of awareness
Accessibility:
Activation potential of available knowledge (Higgins, 1996)
Accessibility is a function of:
Frequency of action - highly interconnected; more accessible to the self
Activating one node will more likely activate another node
Recency of activation - residual activation
Frequency and recency of activation are going to influence the accessibility of self
knowledge
Recap:
We have multiple selves
When asked who we are, we come up with different descriptions of ourselves de-
pending on the situation, context, and who we are talking to
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