-many theories assume that people’s self-esteem is based on how they believe others perceive them, known as
-according to this view, people internalize the values and beliefs expressed by important people in their lives.
-do this by observing the attitudes and actions of others and adopting these attitudes and actions of others and
adopting these attitudes and behaviours as their own.
-This social view of self-esteem led some theorists to promote unconditional acceptance of children by their parents,
meaning that parents should love their children no matter what the children do.
-Leary: assumes that humans have a fundamental need to belong, a need to belong, a need that is adaptive.
-those who belonged to social groups were more likely to survive and reproduce than those who were excluded and
left to survive on their own.
-According to Leary, self-esteem monitors the likelihood of social exclusion.
-thus, self-esteem is a sociometer, an internal monitor of social acceptance or rejection.
-those with high self-esteem have sociometers that indicate a low probability of rejection.
-low self-esteem correlates highly with social anxiety
Self-Esteem and Death Anxiety
-According to terror management theory, self esteem protects people from the horror associated with knowing that
they will eventually die.
-Schimel: This theory argues that people counter mortaility fears by creating a sense of symbolic immortality
through contributing to their culture and upholding its values.
-Cultural perspective: self-esteem develops from the personal belief that one is living up to criteria that are valued
within the culture.
-exaggeration of personal importance reflect attempts to buffer anxiety about inevitable death.
-reminding people of their mortality leads them to act in ways that enhance their self-esteem.
Self-Esteem and Life Outcomes
-high self esteem doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be successful
-although people with high self esteem report being much happier with their lives, self esteem is only weakly
related to objective life outcomes
-to the extent that there is a small relationship between self-esteem and life outcomes, perhaps it is success that
causes high self esteem.
-many downsides to having really high selfesteem:
-become violent when tey feel that others are not treating them with an appropriate level of respect.
-school bullies also often have high self esteem
-although having high self esteem does seem to make people happier, it does not necessarily lead to successful
social relationships or life success.
We Use Mental Strategies to Maintain Our Views of Self
-is that most people think of themelves in favorable terms
-Most people describe themselves as above average in just about every possible way, which is referred to as the
better than average effect
-According to an influential paper by Shelley Taylor: most people have positive illusions – overly favorable and
unrealistic beliefs – in at least three domains
1) people tend to overestimate their own skills, abilities, and competencies, as is the case with the better than
2) most people have an unrealistic perception of their personal control over events
3) most people are unrealistically optimistic about their personal futures, believing that they will probably be
successful, marry happily, and live a long life.
Positive illusions can be adaptive when they help ople to be optimistic in meeting life’s challenges, they can lead to
trouble when people overestimate their skills and underestimate their vulnerabilites.
-Abraham Tesser: notes that self esteem can be affected not only by how people perform, butby how relevant their
performances are to their self-concepts and how their performances compare with those of significant people can
feel threatened when someone close to them outperforms them on a task that is personally relevant.
-self evaluation maintenance causes people to exaggerate or publicize their connections to winners and to minimize
or hide their relations to losers.
-Social Comparison occurs when people evaluate their own actions, abilities, and beliefs by contrasting them with
-social comparisons are an important way to understand our actions and emotions, such as whether it is reasonable
to be afraid in a situation.