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Social Psychology: Chapter 3

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

Chapter 3 self concept ; your overall beliefs about your own attributes. -> Williams James : self concept is one aspect of the self and can be referred to as the Known or the Me -> 2nd aspect of self is awareness ( also called Knower or the I ) -> The known is self concept ( you know who you are) -> The knower is self awareness ( the act of thinking of yourself) -> your self - concept has an impact on how you feel about yourself ( e.g. if you have high attributes about who you are, then you will have high self esteem; on the contrary, the individual will have low self esteem). self- esteem: an individual‟s evaluation of his or her self worth self- awareness : the state of being aware of oneself as an object to one‟s thoughts. -> people can become motivated to change their behaviour if they are forced. look at model 3.1 pg. 65 Functions of Self -> Self as interpersonal tool : In order for us to maintain or keep relationships with others, we must have a stable idea of who we are as an individual. -> Self as a decision maker: The small or big decisions we make in life reflect our goals, values and who we are. -> Self as a regulatory system :The self has to maintain itself despite the individual‟s diverse and contradictory goals. Self regulation is an important function. We must take care of our interpersonal relationships, regulate one‟s emotional states, and organize information that is related to a particular task. eg. Jennifer Campbell at the University of British Columbia suggests that some of us may have a clearer understanding that others. -> Self concept clarity: knowledge about ourselves are consistent and clear . Campbell has found that a person who is consistent and in touch with their inner selves revieles important cognitive and emotional implications. How do personal factors influence the self-concept and self awareness? -> Introspection: thinking about your thoughts / the procedures in which we think of our thoughts and feelings. It is often seen as influencing the self-concept. - Disadvantage of introspection: not an effective way of gaining insight into our true attitudes. When making decisions, we often use our reasoning skills which leads us astray from what our inner thoughts and beliefs are. However, when using our feelings/ gut feelings, we make decisions that best describe ourselves in the present and who we could be in the future. -> Overestimating the impact of events: we often believe that various factors will affect our mood more than they actually do. -> affective forecasting: the notion that negative and positive events will have a huge effect on our mood, when in reality it does not have such a huge impact on our moods. Focussing on self- awareness: -> another factor that can influence the way we see ourselves is how we compare ourselves to our own standards of behaviour. -> Self Discrepency: the theory that our self-concept is influenced by the gap between how we actually see ourselves and how we want to see ourselves. In other words, the way we think of ourselves, depends on how close we think we are to becoming our ideal selves, which can either be negative ( if we think that who we are now is not close to the picture of the “ideal” self) or positive ( we think that we are becoming the “ideal” person we want to be). -> Self - awareness theory: people notice self- discrepancies only when they are focused on their own behaviour which as a result causes the person to change their behaviour or escape their self awareness. -> Limits of self- control: once we‟ve spent energy on controlling our thoughts and desires, we have difficulty doing so again. eg. participants who signed up for a “ taste perception study” were given instructions to refrain from eating the food provided ( one table had junk food and the other had radishes) for 3 hours and were then randmonly assigned to eat either of the options of food. The participants were then given a puzzle that was impossible to solve. The participants who were given radishes gave up on the puzzle much faster ( gave up in 8 ½ mins) than the participants who were given junk food ( gave up in 19 mins). - trying to control or suppress our thoughts can also backfire and make these thoughts particularly salient. It can also influence our behaviour. -> escape from self awareness: although we may match our behaviour to our internal standards, in other cases people choose to escape from this self- awareness and the discomfort it can bring. This can have benign effects or negative effects, for example, a study showed that students who were told that their I.Q. were lower than the average person were given the opportunity to taste wine. As predicted, the students who received low I.Q. averages drank significantly more wine than students who received high I.Q. scores. Examining your behaviour: -> self perception theory: we look to our own behaviour to determine our attitudes and beliefs - self perception theory explains why asking people to perform a behaviour, especially with little pressure can lead them to experience a change in self concept. - self perception predicts that your attitude towards a past event will change because you look at your behaviour while doing the same event over with a different atmosphere/ group of people. -> facial feedback hypothesis : changes in facial expression can lead to change of emotion. how could facial expressions change your mood? - changes in emotion that are caused by facial feedback are simply a result of self- perception. Another explination is that facial expressions and body monements influence emotions by producing physiologcal changes in the brain. Interpreting your Motivation : Another factor that can influence how people view themselves is the motivation they identify as being the reason for their behaviour. -> intrinsic motivation: the desire to be incorporated in an activity which you find interesting or enjoy it. -> extrinsic motivation: the desire to take part in an activity solely because of their rewards or pressures. - people who work on a task for extrinsic reasons report feeling concerned with recognition, competition and tangible rewards or benefits. -> overjustification: The phenomenon where receiving incentives to complete an intrinsic motivational task reduces positive emotions that is incorporated with intrinsic motivations. However, providing an unexpected reward has no significant impact on such motivation. How do social factors influence the self- concept? -> social comparison theory: the theory that people evaluate their own abilities and attributes by comparing themselves to other people. - we use social comparison theory in situations where we are uncertain which does not allow us to judge our abilities correctly. How do people maintain a positive self concept? Self serving bias- this tendency to misremember events in a particular direction is one of the strategies that people use to feel good about themselves. - misremembering - the tendency to remember things in a self serving way can also lead us to see change over time, even when no change has occurred. -> false consensus effect: the tendency to overestimate the extent to which other people share our opinions, attitudes and behaviours. -people see their own skills and abilities as relatively normative, meaning similar to that of others in their social groups. - even though people generally see their attitudes and undesirable behaviour as normative, they still think of themselves as a unique person and a better person than the rest of society. -> The false uniqueness: the tendency to underestimate the extent to which other people are likely to share our positive attitudes and behaviour. Self serving Beliefs : unrealistic optimism: seeing oneself as more likely to have good experience rather than other people, who have bad experiences. -> perceived control: we see uncontrollable events as partially controllable. Self serving comparisons: -> basking in the
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