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February 27 - PSYC473.docx

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PSYC 473
Mark Baldwin

FEBRUARY 27: COMPLEXITIES OF SELF-ESTEEM - Why is self-esteem so complicated? Why can’t we just like ourselves & tell ourselves we are great & leave it at that? - Your perception of yourself is NOT a reflection of reality. Your perception of yourself is not necessarily accurate/realistic. So where does it come from? Self-esteem is more complex than just high versus low: - High self-esteem can be truly “secure,” but may also be “defensive” o Some people might look completely secure and truly be confident, while some people may portray themselves as secure, but it is only a cover up. - Maybe self-esteem has an implicit as well as explicit component. Defensive vs. Secure Self-Esteem - High self-esteem can be truly “secure,” but can also be “defensive” o Contingent on successes, therefore often fragile and unstable? o Defensiveness  hostility, prejudice?  When there is a need to defend your abilities in order to feel good about yourself. Trying to maintain an appearance of success may cause you to become hostile, prejudice, etc. Kernis et al. (1989) - IS self-esteem stable or not? Do we have a chronic self-esteem or not? - Self-esteem measured with Rosenberg scale. - Self-esteem instability measured through multiple assessments of Rosenberg scale on multiple days. o Is everybody stable on their self-esteem? No! Some ppl have a stable self-esteem while others have a self-esteem that fluctuates from day to day. - Looked at hostility measure: how angry would you feel in response to various anger-arousing incidents? - Results: Ppl with “defensive high” self-esteem (self-esteem that is high but unstable/fluctuating) reported the most anger. - Conclusion: There is more to self-esteem then whether it is high or low. It is not just the level of self- esteem that is important, but also how dynamic it is. Individuals who fluctuate in their self-esteem responded with the most anger. Implicit Self-Esteem - Might it make sense to examine implicit self-esteem, with characteristics of automaticity: o Efficient, Unintended, Uncontrollable, Outside of awareness - Can we look at self-esteem elements that have these characteristics and maybe that will tap into something more profound than just whether self-esteem of a person is high or low? Name Letter Task - Please use the following scale & place your rating of each symbol in the box containing that symbol. - How it works: By asking ppl to rate the letters of the alphabet, it is possible to tap into implicit self-esteem by looking at whether they rate the letter with which their name begins low (low implicit self-esteem) or high (high implicit self-esteem). Implicit Association Task (IAT) - This is the primary way of assessing ppl’s implicit attitudes. - Ppl are given words & have to say if it is: o ‘Not Self’ vs. ‘Self’ o ‘Good’ vs. ‘Bad’ o ‘Not Self or Bad’ vs. ‘Self or Good’ o ‘Not self or Good’ vs. ‘Self or Bad’ o When ppl have to put things together mentally that don’t fit together in their head, it becomes harder to respond. - Initial Results: implicit self-esteem does not correlate strongly with explicit self-esteem.  Usually btw 0 – 0.25 o Thought that maybe this is simply due to bad measurements. o If they are meaningfully different, maybe they will correlate with different things?  E.g., Fazio et al – prejudice study.  Implicit attitude predicted certain kinds of attitudes, while explicit attitudes predicted totally different attitudes. Spalding & Hardin, 1999 - Measure implicit and explicit self-esteem separately (with reaction-time task). - Subject was put through a self-relevant interview where they had to describe themselves and their health. - The idea was that even though implicit and explicit self-esteem may not correlate strongly with each other, they might correlate more strongly with other variables. - Could they predict things regarding SE in this self-relevant interview. - Results: o Ppl with low explicit self-esteem reported feeling more anxious during the interview. o
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