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Lecture 2

PSYCH253 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Observational Error, Polio Vaccine, Daniel Kahneman

Course Code
Steve Spencer

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Section 2 - The Perceiver Shapes Reality
Module 06 - The Self
How Our Self-Conceptions Shape Reality
-effects of the self on perception and memory
-self-reference effect: best way to remember a word is to think about how it relates to you
Markus’ Model of the Self
1. Self-Schemas
schemas: a way to understand the world (typical ways of thinking that guide our processing of
information; lens through which you look at the world; affected by preconceptions, beliefs, etc.)
-self-schemas are the dominant way that we tend to think of ourselves
guide our interpretation and understanding of reality
-self-schemas influence how quickly you think about or understand things
2. Working Self-Concept
-people have many self-schemas (e.g. independent, friend, husband, psychologist, etc.)
important to us but can change at any given moment to guide our processing of information
-schemas that we use at any given moment are called the working self-concept
-important to know which concepts are influencing us at any given time
3. Possible Selves
-recall: self-schema is something that characterizes you now
-possible self: something that may or may not characterize you as you project yourself into the
future (provides a motive to become that or not)
-what we hope to be, expect to be, and fear to be in the future can influence what self-
schemas we have
-expectations are a drive to positive behaviour and fears can help motivate the desires and
Source: University of Waterloo PSYCH 253 Online Lecture (Steven Spencer)
-people came to the study and were asked about their preferences
-two same sex confederates gave either the same answers as the subjects or completely
different answers (from the real subject but the same as the other confederate)
-measured their response to similarity type words
-people who weren't like the confederates were much faster to say me to similarity words
than not me vs. people who were like confederate said not me very fast
-people’s self concepts changed based on the confederates (e.g. people where the
confederates said the same stuff activated dissimilarity concept; want to be different)

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Section 2 - The Perceiver Shapes Reality
How Do We Form Our Self-Concepts
-possible explanations about where our self-concepts come from:
1. Looking Glass Self (Cooley and Mead)
looking glass self: people gain a sense of themselves and who they are by taking on the
perceptions that other people have of them
perception of yourself is a reflection of how others see you
-not a strong connection (not as straight forward; subtle and not a strong influence)
2. Introspection
-might look within ourselves, but generally our introspections are pretty bad / inaccurate
-people don’t understand themselves nearly as much as they think they do
3. Social Context
-tend to define or describe ourselves in ways that set us apart from others (make us unique)
4. Social Comparison
-gain impressions of ourselves by comparing with others or with our past selves (over time)
-temporal comparisons: derogating our past selves makes us feel better (Wilson and Ross)
bring our past successes closer to the current time makes us feel better
Source: University of Waterloo PSYCH 253 Online Lecture (Steven Spencer)
Nisbett and Wilson Studies
-claim: we have very little understanding of what goes on inside of us
-list of words to remember, add distraction, asked to remember words and then write a
laundry detergent down
most people chose tide b/c 5 of the 9 words were related to water and the tide (cue)
nobody came up with this as an explanation to why they chose tide
-affective forecasting
ask people to imagine something happening in the future and how upset they would be if
that occurred
people massively overestimate how much bad things are going to make them feel bad
and good things, make them feel good
think they will be much more affected by the event than they actually will be
-had UW students rate themselves on various positive and negative traits in September
-rerated themselves in November and asked them to remember their September ratings
-memory of September ratings were distorted (rated much lower than both Nov and Sept)
-selective memory about how they actually were in the past to create an illusion that they're
changing for the better (self-serving bias)

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Section 2 - The Perceiver Shapes Reality
Self-Serving Biases
-people construct reality in a way that paints themselves in a positive light
1. Self-Serving Cognitions
-ways we think about the world that end up making us look more positive
A. false consensus: when we believe that other people agree with us and act the way we do,
more than is justified
people tend to think that others agree with them and think the way they do
B. false uniqueness: thinking that few others behave or think like you
only occurs when people show exemplary or horrendous behaviours
C. overestimation of contributions and abilities to outcomes that we engage in
in group work, everyone thinks they did more than their share
D. explanations of success and failure
after success, people make an internal attribution
after failure, people make an external attribution
2. Basking in Reflected Glory
-latching on to other people’s success can make you feel better
people tend to associate themselves with winners and dissociate themselves from losers
identify with your group when it is successful
3. Self-Handicapping
-self-serving bias with clear negative consequences (try to prevent the self from getting hurt)
-example: exams and drinking
drink night before exam so that you can blame poor performance on the drinking instead
-engage in behaviour that can undermine your performance b/c it provides an excuse in case
you don’t do well
Source: University of Waterloo PSYCH 253 Online Lecture (Steven Spencer)
Ross and Sicoly
-married couples reported on how much each person contributed to household chores
-both members of the couple thought they do more than half
-part of it may be what you have access to in your memory: easier to remember what you
did vs. what your spouse did (especially when you weren't there)
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