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Lecture 2

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

Course Code
PSYC 333
Jennifer Bartz

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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-
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)
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
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
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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