Chapter 6(1): Self and Personality
How we perceive ourselves, and understand our identity plays a crucial role in how we
think about many things. The selfconcept is implicated in directing what information
we should attend to, it shapes the kinds of meaning that we draw from events, it
influences the kinds of relationships that we have, it affects our emotions, and it
influences what we will be motivated to work towards. It is central to our psychology.
Independent vs. Interdependent Views of Self
Reserachers: Seminal paper by Markus and Kitayama (1991)
They argued that much of what is known in social psychology has been studied with
people who share a primarily distinct view of self an independent self (usually
westerners). In much of the nonWestern world, in contrast, an interdependent self is
more common. If the view of self differs from culture to culture should the psychology
also differ? These researchers argued that this is the case.
Independent View of Self
• Identity is experienced as largely independent from others.
• Important aspects of identity are personal characteristics (that everyone has their
own unique attributes and are distinct.)
• Identity remains largely constant across roles and situations.
• Considerable fluidity between ingroups and outgroups.
Circle around the individual (yellow), does not overlap anyone and is independent from
other. This mean that their identity is shaped based on internal characteristic (the X).
The aspects of identity or the kind of feature that people thing of them are within the
Individual independent from others.
The borderline around induidual is a solid line, it indicates that self is bounded and
experiences a rather stable and does not change from situation to situation
The boundary btw ingroup and outgroup (is dashed) is not important but rather the
most important boundary is the boundary around the individual ( yellow)
Thus their view of self often arises from oneself alone. This view is dominant in the
Interdepended view of self
• Individual’s identity is importantly interdependent with others.
• Key aspects of identity include roles, relationship, and memberships As roles
change across situations, identity is also somewhat fluid across situations.
• Clear distinction between ingroups and outgroups.
Comments: Usually Asian ( south, north, etc). Self is a relational antity that is made up
of interaction with members of the significant others. Mentally, the self is connected to
others (participant of the large social units). Main idea is that you are part of the society
Border around self: overlaps with Indi duals who the person is in relation with. They are
connected it others and thus are NOT distinct unique identities. Chapter 6(1): Self and Personality
The large X’s: rest at the interaction of other this indicates that identity is grounded in
relationship to others. There are some axes that are not connected to others but that’s not
The doted line around individual yellow: reflect that identity of the interdepended of
the self is fluid and changeable it depends on the situation and roles.
Solid line around ingroup and outgroup: distinction btw ingroup members and the
outgroup. The relationship with significant other is very close and very hard to get away
from ingroup to outgroup. Out groups is not important relationship.
Independent vs. interdependent lifestyles: differ a lot (sleeping arrangements)
Study: Chines immigrant in Edmonton vs. Europeans in Sherwood park vs. Chinese in
china 90% European: solitary sleeping, 99% in Chinese with parent sleeping
80% first generation still exercise they indorse the traditional ways of child bearing.
Self Representation & Culture
Question: Do East Asians really merge others (and Others’ view) into their self
Author: A NeuroImaging Study by Zhu, Zhang, Fan, & Han (2007).
Participants: (Chinese & Americans) were presented with a variety of personality traits,
and asked to judge how much each trait was applicable to them.
Results: For Chinese, MPFC (related to the self representation) were activated when the
word “self and my mother” were presented. For Americans, MPFC was activated only
when the word “self” appeared. Mental differentiation was activated only if you got the
information about you (self) but it depended on what you define self as (self=me and my
parent in Asian vs Self=me only in USA)
Variety Facets of Interdependent vs. Independent Self Construals
Cognition study involves: SelfDescription, SelfAwareness, SelfConsistency
People are asked to describe themselves with a number of statements that begin with “I
am _____’? The kinds of statements that they list are then counted and analyzed. People
from some different cultural groups often provide different kinds of statements. In one
study, participants were asked to complete twenty of these
The Results of Ma & Schoeneman, (1997)
Personal Characteristics were dominant responses among American Undergrad Students
(independent self). In Urban Kenyans’ responses were similar to these of American
Undergrad Students (they are western influenced).
Roles of memberships were dominant responses among tribal