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April 8 - PSYC473.pdf

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PSYC 473
Mark Baldwin

2013-04-10 4:00 PM Monday April 8 , 2013 Existential Approach Continued … -big picture theory of social psyc; influential in last decade Why the need for self-esteem? -dissonance, literature revising original idea to theory of self-esteem, self- justificaiton -self- awareness, people satistfying standards -desire to see ourselves well is a powerful motive, to see ourselves beyond this need plays a significant role in our thoughts/feelings/behaviors -evolutionary basis of self-esteem, but for wanting to belong to group (wired to do this) -think about self-esteem, how badly we feel when we feel poorly of ourselves, clinical level of depression seem to be related to identity issues, why so powerful? -terror management theory 1) Human being has cognitive abilities -we can imagine things -we are self-aware •all animals die, only we know we are going to die -death itself as a secondary category of existential 2) 3) We try to cope in various ways -directly (afterlife beliefs, drugs) -indirectly, by immersing ourselves in a socially-constructed world •most of us cope in one way or another, tried to set aside fairly direct ways, we are not going to die, or to do things like take drugs to cope –opposed to more indirect way – we immerse ourselves in socially constructed world  why does this happen? Is a way of dealing with this anxiety because it is a psychological solution that helps us cope •it is a way of feeling a sense of permanence, participating in something that is ongoing o immersing ourselves in our culture, it will continue to go on- we participate in it – something that outlasts our life, does provide in some way some sense of ongoing existence omore important, it is essentially a distraction, set of understandings, a way of being, things work in a certain way – stable makes sense, part of it and care about things and do things distracts you from psychologically feelings associated with death anxiety -sel-esteem doesn’t mean they are entirely based on death anxiety, not only thing a human cares about, nor death anxiety necessarily leads you to do this -it is an important motivation that influences us and explains things that don’t make a lot of sense -ex: might agree sociometer view of self-esteem (based on wanting to feel ok and accepted in social group) Terror Management Theory: ‘cultural anxiety buffer” -maintain a cultural worldview, ex: if there is an outgroup that thinks differently, that is threatening; our practices has meaning and purpose, whole belief system worldview needs be maintained by not destroying this -prejudice view where you see others from different point of view you may dislike -not just makes you negative generally, but makes you want to uphold your worldview, you reward them -see self as a valued member of the culture  world that makes sense but you are not part of it, wont help you buffer your anxiety, we want to feel like we believe and are a valued member of our culture – basis of self-esteem Self-Esteem Study 1: -judging positive and negative traits for self-descriptiveness -while exposed to: •control words: lake, cloud, station •death words: blood, cancer, corpse -one group had neutral words and death words appearing on the side of the screen -more self-enhancement when death words shown (more likely to say positive trait words were descriptive of them) •seeing the word death makes you feel like a better person – show much self-enhancement -fits with general idea that arousing death anxiety, then they want to secure their position in the world by enhancing their sense of self – better placed as member of society/culture  people try to boost their own self-esteem when threatened with death Self-Esteem Study 2: -subjects received bogus positive personality feedback (vs. neutral feedback) -if you feel you are a valued member of culture, then cultural anxiety buffer is more solid and can cope with death anxiety better -these films make people anxious, but less when you have positive feedback on personality -positive feedback  less anxiety when watching death film  effects on how people relate to death with self-esteem Self-Esteem Study 3: -putting down outgroup -bogus positive personality feedback (vs. neutral) -and undergo Mortality Salience Manipulation -if they feel momentarily boosted in cultural anxiety buffer, they are less likely to derogate outgroup member when they are confronted with death -positive feedback  less pro-US bias (ie derogation of outgroup) -3 studies together, any one study could be looked at and it could go the other way, but combined it is hard to come up with one explanation other than findings Further Explorations -social cognition because reaction to this theory is mainly I don’t believe it – not bothered by death; we can all think those ways •explicit level – these are the thoughts we are having -many of us are not wondering about death all the time, and how can you claim death anxiety has a pervasive effect if we don’t claim it does? -in terms of social cognition – social cognitive approach, to assess implicit processes? •Most of us would rather not think about these things – -typical challenge: you think all these thing matter but you don’t know -now we are able to assess and manipulate implicit processes – we don’t want to think about this, we are doing what we can to cope -wanted to show, Oklets sathe whole thing occurs unconsciously – will it still have any implact? Yes Accessibility: Subliminal primes of DEATH vs FIELD other subjects did the normal mortalibty salience manipulation(thinking about what happens when you die): Pro-US bias (do you like the guy who is in favor of US
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