LECTURE 5 – BASES OF SELF-ESTEEM
- Self-esteem: positive view of ourselves
- Self-esteem is something that not all people seek. In some cultures (particularly in
East Asian cultures), being critical of oneself is more common. Seeing one’s group in
a positive light is more important
- How is this related to relationships?
o The way we view ourselves influences how behave socially
o How close we get with our partners, how positively we think of partners, and how
satisfied we are
What is Self Esteem?
- Overall evaluation about self, feeling about self-worth. Whether we deserve love
from other people, comment about whether we expect people to accept and like us
- Affective component overall judgment of whether we good or worthwhile people.
Confident about being liked and accepted
- Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale
o Items on this scale ask people how they feel generally and include things like
I feel like I’m person of worth on equal basis with others
I feel like I have a number of good qualities
I take a positive attitude towards myself
Im inclined to feel that im a failure
o People who score high on the last item are low in self-esteem
o Low self-esteem evaluate themselves negatively, feel other people don’t like them,
pessimistic, high levels of anxiety. Ruminate about failure and blame themselves for it,
so they don’t get over the failures quickly.
o High self-esteem judge themselves positively, believing other people see them
positively as well. Tend to be optimistic, happy, and healthy. Don’t ruminate about
failure and don’t blame themselves. Recruit positive thoughts about themselves to
make themselves feel better. Selectively recall times when they were successful.
Blame other things or people for failure
Where Does Self-Esteem Come From?
- Not how other people see us, it’s how we THINK other people see us
- Sometimes accurate, and they powerfully influence us
- Can be based on ourselves by living up to our own standards
- Discrepancy between what we think we should be and what we ideally what want to
be can raise or lower our self-esteem
- Self-esteem can be raised when we base self-worth on many things rather than just
1. Looking Glass Self
• we use other people as a mirror in which we can see ourselves. Other people's
views and impressions of us then become incorporated into our self-concepts
• Mead suggested that it is not what other people ctually think about us; rather
it is our perceptions of what other people think about us that have an impact
on our feelings of self-esteem.
• Ex: mother tells me I’m a good person, then I’ll feel good about myself.
Father tells me I’m a bad person. Then I’ll feel bad about myself
• How do we tell how other people think about us?
i. Self-concept is not affected by what people actually think, but what we
perceive and believe they think about us. We read other people’s
verbal and non-verbal behavior
ii. Perceptions impact our sense of self iii. Reflective appraisal: our perceptions of whether we are accepted and
valued by others. Come from perceptions of how people treat us
Why do We Need Self-Esteem?
- Leary and colleagues (1995) suggest that self-esteem may have evolved as a means
for us to monitor whether we are accepted by others or not.
- What is important is not necessarily being accepted, but rather, what's important is
- In prehistory, it was our best interest to be accepted in groups, important for survival
- Perceive sign of rejection feel bad, self –esteem drops, tells us we are being
excluded, motivates us to remedy to change the situation and increase acceptance
- STUDY 5 people to take part in the study at a time. These participants were told
that 3 of the 5 of them would be participating in a group decision-making task but
that the other 2 people would be making decisions by themselves
- Some of the participants were told that it would be randomly decided who would take
part in the group decision-making task, whereas the other half