PSY 306 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Social Comparison Theory, Comparator, In Private

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What is the self? (Part 2)
The Self
What does the ‘other’ do?
Tell us about the world and what’s in it
Treat us as though we have a self
Tell us what kind of self we have
Tells us what kind of self we ought to have
Soothes our needs (regulate the self)
Food, clothes, shelter
Mom drags “me” out of bed
How the other shapes our ‘self’
We internalize their perspective
We treat ourselves like we have a self
We learn what we are like
We learn what we ought to be like
We learn to sooth our own needs
Regulating the self
I drag me out of bed
Objective Self-
Robert Wicklund (1972)
Can either focus on outside world or on the self
Focus on self is a social object for others, thus “object” or
objective self-awareness
We objectively self-aware use “generalized other” to evaluate and
guide behavior
Generalized other doesn’t always guide behavior
Only when made objectively self-aware
Comparing self to these high standards and expectations is aversive
Upwards social comparison
Change self-concept
Escape self-awareness (physically and psychologically)
OSA and social“object”ness
Hypothesis” being made objectively self-aware should make
you evaluate yourself from the outside
Evaluate your self more like you would evaluate a stranger
From your normal view, you think own behavior is due to the
situation and other’s behavior is due to personality
Blame others for awkwardness but not self (FAE/
Correspondence Bias)
From the other video view, think of own behavior as due to
Treat self like an other”
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OSA is aversive
Hypothesis: OSA makes us feel bad
Being made objectively self-aware reminds you of how you
should be
This typically reminds us of how we are not doing well enough at
This makes us feel bad about ourselves
OSA and Escape
Hypothesis: because objective self-awareness is aversive, people will
try to escape this state if possible
OSA and Behavior
The other alternative besides “escape” is to conform behavior to the
generalized other or the relevant comparator or standard
Change behavior
Trick or Treat
Why do only the older kids show bigger effect?
13 year olds have started to experience the aversiveness of
being a social “object”
Halloween costumes may produce a bigger release for these
kids who spend a lot of their time suppressing their impulses
Deindividuation: loss of identity and sense of responsibility
What gets activated?
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