PSYC241 Lecture 4: Self-Evaluation

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PSYC241 – Self-Evaluation Sept. 20, 2012
Review of Last Lecture:
- cultural views of the self: independent versus interdependent
- self-esteem
osociometer theory  self esteem acts as a gage
oterror management  feeling good about yourself alleviates stress about
thinking about your inevitable death
oself-serving biases, self-handicapping, self-affirmation, BIRGing and
CORFing  trying to uphold your self-esteem
- Social comparison processes: upward and downward (upward social comparisons
or downward social comparisons)
oAdvantages of upward comparisons (comparing yourself to someone
higher than you)  motivation
oCost of upward comparison  feeling worse about yourself
oWe only make upward comparisons if we feel it is an accomplishable
position for ourselves
The Self-Evaluation Maintenance Model
- Friend’s success:
- comparison: if the domain is high in relevance (if the event is relevant to
us/central to our sense of self), the friend’s performance will be threatening to our
sense of self (even if we are happy for our friend)
oif we are threatened, we adapt ways to deal with this  self-affirmation,
downplay the importance of the friend’s success, distance ourselves from
the friend
- reflection: if the domain is low in relevance, the friends performance will be
purely positive (no threat to self)
Distance can be subjective
- participants were instructed to think of beginning of the term
- Half were told “think of a point in time in the recent past, the beginning of this
term”
- Half were told “think back to another point in time, all the way back to the
beginning of this term
- Participants then rated their standing on a number of traits (eg. Socially skilled)
from 0-10
oParticipants in the recent category = no change from then to present
oParticipants in the way back trait, rated themselves as having improved
since the beginning of the term
oThe only time people saw change is when they were told to look “way
back”
- our sense of time can be subjective
- people tend to mis-remember our old achievements as worse than they were, so it
is easier to convince oneself that you have improved over time
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