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Lecture

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 473
Professor
Mark Baldwin
Semester
Winter

Description
PSYC473 - Lecture 7 Notes Self-Conception Processes: • Prof starts with a story about doing construction at his house; he had to borrow a saw from the chair of the department. Chair of department brought a saw and gave it to Baldwin. Baldwin used it and forgot to return it. A week later, chair ad- dressed to Baldwin in a sideways way saying, “You seem like the kind of guy who can get people to do things for him” whilst coming over to pick up the saw from Baldwin (aka “You can manipulate people to do things for you”). Baldwin thought about this idea and tested the idea but concluded that he isn’t a manipulating person. Subjective Self-awareness • • Distinguished between self and environment • Objective Self-awareness • Simple representation of self (i.e. Here I am in this world) • Symbolic Self-awareness • Complex, abstract representation of self • 6 ideas of self conception processes: • Observation of objective reality • Observation of contingencies • Introspection • Distinctiveness • Autobiographical memory • Self-Perception • Why did I act in a certain way? • We are adding to the 6 ideas of self conception process where the idea of social construction • Today, we will look at how the social self is not merely perceived but involved in a dynamic system • If we were born without a clear idea of who we are, how do we start to develop the idea of who we are or that we exist. Early forms of existence probably started with communication between people. The notion of sharing or communicating is called intersubjectivity. The example of pointing is given, “Hey look at that! Yes, I see what you’re looking at!” so that’s an example of early parent child interaction and its a shared experience together, out of which the child can extract his or her own per- spective from it. Part of that extraction probably comes from coordinating activities with another person or with another chimp • Early on, there is coordination and conflict which begins this sense of self • Gallup was the researcher who designed the ‘Rouge Test’ and the chimp gradually understood it was looking at itself. He then had one group of chimps who were reared in isolation and did not have the same opportunity that the other chimps had to hang out with other chimps or the opportunity to coordinate activities with another chimp or to be in conflict. The question then becomes, will this have impact on sense of own existence, their self-awareness? Indeed, when Gallup put these chimps in front of the mirror they did not achieve self awareness. So we could say that there might be brain damage or that chimps reared in isolation have other problems and maybe it has nothing to do with social give and take. Gallup then put the chimps in the cage with other chimps and gave them social experience and tests them again and now they do show evidence of self- awareness • Through the opportunity to bump up against others, they were able to gain a sense of own existence to make the con- nection • Social Construction of the Self • Social feedback can shape virtually all our thoughts about self, e.g., about distinctiveness, self-perception, self-narrative • Influences all three aspects of James’ self: social, spiritual/personal, material • Intersubjectivity and communication (co-ordination and conflict) • If we step back, social feedback of various kinds can influence all the six social conception processes we did last class. Social feedback leads you to question distinctiveness; is Baldwin distinctively manipulative, adjusted self narrative, and effected autobiography and re-thought self-perception • Symbolic Interactionism • Started mostly as a mostly sociological but has had an impact on social psychology • It boils down to the idea that the way we perceive ourselves is by considering the viewpoint of others on ourselves. Thus, it is not straightforward to think about the self. James described the dual experience of an “I” and a “me”, I think- ing about myself • The symbolic interactionists think what makes this possible and helps provide the framework involves taking the view- point of others • We may use symbols, social roles or “reflected appraisals” • Humans interact and think in terms of symbols. Other organisms interact with each other but they don’t seem to approach the world in terms of symbols. Symbolic interactionlists point out the ubiquity of symbols. A kiss is tingly and nice but means a lot more, it represents affection. A wedding ring or engagement ring is nice and sparkly, but typically its understood as more than that. Similarly, a hand shake can mean very different things and symbolizes specific things. During a business deal a handshake means something different than a handshake at the end of a date. So many symbolic interactionalists go farther and talk about language. Much of what we do involves ex- changing language • Within this theory is the idea of social roles. They say how do we learn to fit into the social world, we learn the rules and roles. A famous example is the baseball team; they coordinate their actions because they can all think symbolically about what are the members of the team supposed to do. They know the pitcher will throw the ball and the catcher will catch it. So by thinking abstractly they can form expectations and think since I am the catcher, my role is to catch the ball. You need to know the rules of social dynamics and the positions of the participants, and you learn the script for the grocery store and stand in line, and we can’t take the role of the next person in line • The third point is that because we can manipulate the symbols, we can think about all sorts of things and we can think of the self; “I am the catcher,” and then we can say to ourself, “How am I doing?” and the way to assess that is how would the other people on the team perceive me. This is where the idea of perspective taking evolves. So we think about various roles as a result of thinking about ourself and then stepping outside and think about how • others perceive us in that role. We perceive self by taking the viewpoint of others • • Significant others Reflected appraisals are the taking of another’s perspective in imagining how they see us. But reflected ap- • praisals from whose viewpoints??? Certainly we are talking about significant others, the important people in our lives. • Reference groups • If everyone sees you in a certain way, we start paying attention to that. As we grow older and enter the social world, it’s not just our family, but other reference groups; usually these are groups that you want to belong to • Generalized other • The idea that we not only pay attention to specific individuals but that at some point we put these all together to one big perspective that researchers call the generalized other. We are
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