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5 - The Self Lecture Outline.docx

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Connie Boudens

Lecture 5: The Self William James: Two Perspectives on the Self - The self is composed of our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves: “known” or “me” o The feedback you get when you are doing something/ watching something - The self is also the active processor of information: “knower” or “I” o The aspect of yourself that you become aware of when you are reflecting on yourself or things - In modern terms, o known aspect is the self concept o knower aspect as self-awareness. - These two aspects of the self combine to create a coherent sense of identity: o Self is both a book (me) – full content collected over time, and the reader of that book (I) Charles Horton Cooley: The Looking Glass Self - Self can’t be understood in isolation--must be studied in interaction with others - Self is not an inherent property of human nature, but a socially-constructed entity - Concept of Self is not static but rather always changing based on your interactions/society as a whole - Sense of self is built upon seeing ourselves through the eyes of others – the self that you think other people see you as Table 5.1 How we develop a sense of self: Important milestones in the development of self-concept, self-esteem and social identity - Physical self-awareness: there is me and not me - Self-recognition: there are other people too - The rouge test - Theory of mind – others have different/separate thoughts that what I do - Self concept – there are things that they know and that others do not/that they don’t have to share certain thoughts with others - Self-identity: an idea of who they are, engaging society's expectations as part of their self- concept and a part of the self Self-Concept - All the beliefs people have about the self - Network of ideas that Organizes and provides coherence for how we experience the self - Provides sense of continuity Development of Self-Concept - Child’s self-concept is concrete, with observable characteristics - Becomes more complex with age. o more emphasis on psychological states (our thoughts and feelings), opinions of others How does self-concept develop? (From slide flow chats) Birth to 1 year - develop physical awareness 2 to 3 years - recognize self in mirror and pictures - use language to demonstrate self-awareness 3 to 4 years - develop skills, abilities - use personality traits in description of self and other 5 to 6 years - make comparisons with peers - Private sense of self develops - More concrete self-concept 9 to 10 years - Recognize and understand traits as enduring intra personal qualities Adolescents - Feel sensitivity to self and others - Use reflective appraisals - Question identity - Hold internalized view of generalized other - More abstract motivations and personality characteristics - Extreme self-conscientiousness Adults - Experience identity influences from personal characteristics and culture - In general, good self-concept and stable self-esteem Means Through Which the Self-Concept Develops - Others’ Images of You (looking glass self, what people tell you about yourself etc.) - Social Comparisons a. Superior/Inferior b. Same/Different - Culture - Your Own Interpretations & Experiences Cultural Differences in Defining the Self - In many Western cultures, people have an independent view of the self. o Independent view of the self: a way of defining oneself in terms of one's own internal thoughts, feelings, and actions and not in terms of the thoughts, feelings and actions of other people o Define themselves as quite separate from other people o Value independence and uniqueness -
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