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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 - The Self Who Are You - September 16.docx

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Ashley Waggoner Denton

September 16, 2013. Lecture 2 – The Self: Who Are You? Today  Part 1: Know Thyself o Understanding ourselves o Understanding our emotions  Part 2: Love Thyself o Self-esteem and self-enhancement  Part 3: To thine own self be true? o How do we present ourselves to others? Know Thyself  Benjamin Kyle found naked and beaten with no identification o Has no memory of who he was/is o Doesn’t have enough identification to get a social security number or any further ID; makes things like getting into even homeless shelters difficult o Student film made about his story  Self-concept o Context effects  Determines what we tell people, some information is already obvious depending on context o Developmental difference  E.g., descriptions children give vs. adults can be very different; physical characteristics and age are important to children’s descriptions whereas adults might focus on political or religious values, interests, current employment/studies, etc. o Cultural differences  Individualistic vs. collectivist cultures  Individualist culture people will describe themselves with personal traits or characteristics or achievements (I am funny, I am smart, I am nerdy)  Project own needs and feelings onto others  Stable self-concept  Think of self in 1 person  Collectivist culture people will describe themselves as members of a group, or by their relationships with others, social roles (I am a student, I am a sister, I am a Buddhist)  Understand others’ emotions, intentions, motivations  Fluid self-concept  Focus is on others o Independent self-construal: Conception of the self as autonomous and independent from others, and behaving primarily to express its own internal attributes  View the self as independent from others o Interdependent self-construal: Conception of the self as connected to others, with its behaviour contingent on the values, thoughts, and preferences of others  View the self as integrated with others and dependent on current contexts and company  Self-awareness o Distinct from self-concept, which is more our cognitive understanding of the things that make us who we are o Self-awareness is more about our place in the world or our society/community Maintaining a Coherent Sense of Self  We “know” who we are, don’t feel as though we are constantly changing  Limited accessibility o Social and environmental context determines how much of our memory we are attempting to access o Cannot remember everything about ourselves and our entire lives all at once  Selective memory o Reconstructing the past; biased memory based on who we think we are now o E.g., Remembered childhood self as similar to current self when that wasn’t the case  Attribution o Inconsistencies are attributed to situational factors; we explain our inconsistent behaviour using the situation rather than thinking that’s who we actually are o E.g., abnormal behaviour due to particular circumstances, not because of being uncaring or a bad person  Self-schema o Selecting a few core traits o The most important traits about ourselves; we use those to define ourselves Self-Perception Theory (Bem, 1967)  When internal cues are weak or ambiguous, we may make inferences about our characteristics based on our behaviour o E.g, are you a healthy person?  If we’re not sure, we think about recent activity to answer the question  Intrinsic motivation: when you engage in a behaviour for its own sake o Because you actually enjoy the behaviour or activity o E.g., socializing, watching tv, etc. o Cultural Influences: puzzles picked by child, experimenter, and child’s mother  Anglo American children spent more time on puzzles they picked themselves  Asian American children spent more time on puzzles picked by their mother  Extrinsic motivation: when you engage in a behaviour for some “external” reason o Not because you enjoy the behaviour but because you can get someone out of it o E.g., studying: we don’t enjoy it but we get an education that will lead us places  Potential dangers of “overjustification” o “Green-for-grades” programs  Paying Chicago students to get good grades and to graduate to lower the dropout rate o Kids who are rewarded for playing with markers are less likely to play with them next time without the motivation of the reward, whereas the kids who freely chose to play with the markers without promise of reward would go back to them next time Social Influences on our Self Understanding  How tall are you? How popular are you?  Things that require some kind of comparison, a scale or range on which you fit  If a munchkin asks you how tall you are, you might answer tall; if a basketball player asked you, you might answer short  Social Comparison Theory o People evaluate their personal qualities by comparing themselves to others o Usually it makes sense to make comparisons with similar others, since this will be the most informative  Self-Evaluation Maintenance Model o Impact of comparison depends on:  Closeness of the other person  Importance of the attribute o Other individual is close/important to you, and the attribute is important to you: most threatening scenario o Distant other, important attribute: not super awesome, but not entirely unpleasant either; less threatening o Close person, unimportant attribute: most positive scenario, we’re happy for that person since we don’t care about what they are besting us at o Distant other, unimportant attribute: neutral, we just don’t care  Social Comparison o Upward comparisons: comparing oneself to people who are better off  Makes us feel worse about ourselves o Downward comparisons: comparing oneself to people who are worse off  Makes us feel better about ourselves o Can there be “good” upward comparisons?  Importantly, the target has to be perceived as a relevant comparison to have an effect  “Superstar student” in the same academic program as the students themselves  Upward comparisons can inspire and increase self-evaluation if the successes of these targets are both relevant and attainable  Different “Self-Guides” o According to self-discrepancy theory, we compare our “actual selves” to different internal standards that we have for ourselves  Our “ideal” self  hopes, aspirations, wishes  Focuses on positive outcomes and how to achieve them  E.g., staying married: maintaining a happy marriage (promotion goal)  Our “ought” self  duties, obligations, responsibilities  Focuses on negative outcomes and how to avoid them  E.g., staying married: avoiding marital conflict and divorce (prevention goal) o When we sense a discrepancy between ourselves and these internal standards, emotional responses can arise that drive us toward particular behaviours  Discrepancy between “ideal” self and “actual” self leads to disappointment, sadness, dejection  Long-term effects: Lowered self-esteem and depression  Achievement leads to joy and elation  Discrepancy between “ought” self and “actual” self leads to anxiety and agitation  Long-term effects: Lowered self-esteem and anxiety  Achievement leads to relief and relaxation  Which self-standard we focus on depends on:  Context effects  Developmental difference  Cultural differences
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