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February 6 - PSYC473.doc

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McGill University
PSYC 473
Mark Baldwin

PSYC 473 – Lecture 10 (06/02/13) Self-Evaluation and Self-Esteem Self-Esteem: value you place on yourself - Defined in many different ways Measurement: evaluative thoughts and feelings about the self - How do we go about putting a value on ourselves? o Trait self-esteem: chronic  Global idea, stable over time  Rosenberg questionnaire on self-esteem o State self-esteem: temporary  Meant to capture momentary self-esteem  An vary and fluctuate o Implicit self-esteem: automatic or unconscious  Not aware or not directly evaluable by someone  i.e.: Name Letter Task • People like their own initials most • Also letters within your name • Beyond this finding, there is a difference in individual ratings of people’s initials (some might like their own initials, others might adore them!)  i.e.: Reaction-time tasks • how quickly you respond to certain stimuli (like your name)  These methods correlate somewhat, but not extremely strongly - We construct our own self-esteem based on subjective facts o i.e.: some might be proud of getting a B in the midterm while others would be disappointed o there are objective constructs but it is important not to be naive about this  A goo looking, talented and moral person should have high self-esteem while a funny looking awkward person who can’t do anything - Self-Evaluation Procedures 1) Comparison with Standards a. Self-esteem = successes/pretentions i. i.e.: Rower in the Olympics gets second place, will probably feel terrible 1. B/c expecting to be first ii. It all depends on the standards you set b. Where do we get these standards? Which standards do we use and why? i. Social Comparison 1. Comparing with other people (similar others) – a. Reasonable comparisons b. Morse & Gergen (1970) – you can shift people’s self- esteem just by shifting their standards i. Mr. Clean and Mr. Dirty ii. Male research participants came to apply for a job iii. Filling out questionnaires while they wait (self- esteem) iv. In one of the experimental procedures, a clean, suit-clad man comes in and starts filling out the questionnaire v. In the other, a dirty slob came in 1. Scores went down if Mr. Clean came in 2. Scores went up if Mr. Dirty came up vi. Within moments people’s evaluations of themselves shifted depending on who was around (standards) 1. Quite likely, this process is unconscious vii. Critique: it might be that the competitive environment the participants are put in can confound the results 1. Yes, but other studies have gotten the same results without the competitive setting ii. Importance 1. Rosenberg 2. Crocker et al. (2002) – Is your self-worth contingent on doing well in these different domains? a. Senior undergrads applying to grad school b. Asked to fill-out self-esteem scales for two months while waiting to hear back c. A few times a week, or any day they would receive a letter from one of these universities d. Comparing people whose self-esteem was highly vs. lowly contingent on academic success e. [Graph] f. The importance you attribute to different contingencies
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