PSYC14H3 Study Guide - Ingroups And Outgroups, Barter, Whenu Savenow
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Chapter 6 – Self and Personality
Two athletes won the gold medal in two different countries but they both explained the reason for their victory differently.
In a study it was shown that Americans and Japanese have contrasting ways of when explaining their victory. Americans
focused more on how their performance reflected their OWN personal characteristics, whereas Japanese focused on how
their performance was guided by expectations of others.
WHO AM I?
- Nature of ourselves strongly influences the ways we perceive and interact with our social worlds.
- Twenty statements test is a well-used measure of the self-concept. This exercise reveals the extent of culture’s
influence in our identities in at least TWO ways; superficial: “ I’m a devotee of Jazz, statements are cultural
products in that you can’t view yourself as a devotee of Jazz if you haven’t been exposed to the music and its
surrounding culture. It might only reveal superficial because it is merely providing the content about the ways we
think of ourselves; People can appear highly similar across experiences and vary just by content.
-Deeper: This one is harder to detect, This influence isn’t seen so much in the content of the statements as in their
structure. “I am creative, suggests that we think in terms of having enduring traits such as creativity that exists
across situations. These statements can suggest a variety of ways we think about ourselves. “I am an older
brother.” These statements can highlight an experience of the self that is connected with others and in ways that
are specific to the role of being a younger brother.
- The degree to which we view ourselves in two separate ways, depends on our culture. Some cultures encourage
people to focus on their enduring inner attributes such as personality traits, attitudes or abilities to understand
themselves. While other cultures encourage people to focus on their connections with others by considering
themselves in terms of concrete roles, relationships and group members.
- A study b/w Kenyans and Americans asking people to describe themselves with the TST: Since Kenya was still
developing, the authors divided Kenya into groups in terms of how much they were exposed to the western
culture. They reasoned that Kenyan Uni students in Nairobi should be the most westernized since they participate
in an education system that was shaped by the British, employed adults in Nairobi might be slightly less
westernized and the traditional Kenyan groups [Masai +Samburu] would be least Westernized. These Kenyan
students were compared with American undergrads. The most popular kinds of self-descriptions for Americans
were personal characteristics (attitudes, traits, abilities). These kind of personal characteristic statements only
made up 2% of the self-descriptions of Masai and samburu. Most of their statements were of self-identity [roles
and memberships]. THIS GRAPH is in your lecture notes, also on text page 199 [look at it].
- Our survival and fitness depend both on the things that we accomplish as individuals and on our abilities to
interact successfully with others.
INDEPENDENT VS INTERDEPENDENT
- Self can be thought to derive its identity from inner attributes. These attributes are assumed to reflect an essence
of the individual in that they are the basis of the individuals identity, they are viewed as stable across situations
and across the lifespan, perceived to be unique. They are perceived from the individual and NOT from the
interactions with others. Marktus and Kitayama referred to this as independent view of self.
- The diagram in our ppt, of independent view of self: Circle around the individual does Not overlap with any of its
surrounding relationships. This shows that the independent individuals experience their identities are distinct from
its relationships. The larger X’s means more important, and all of the large x’s lie within the individual. The
border around the individual is a solid line, to show that the self is bounded, stable, doesn’t change from situation
to situation. The independent view exists as a coherent and inviolate entity. The border around the ingroup is a
dotted line, displaying that it is fluid; meaning others can move between the boundary of ingroup and outgroup
easily. Individuals with independent identities still closer to ingroup than outgroup, they just don’t view them in
distinct ways. In sum, independent selves tend to be viewed as distinct, autonomous entities whose identities are
grounded in a variety of internal component and who interact with other similarly independent entities.
- The self can be viewed as a relational entity that is connected to and sustained by, a number of important
relationships. When people are focused on how they are connected with others, it is important for them to
consider how their behaviors will affect others, and they must organize their psychological experiences in
response to what others are thinking and doing. Individuals in this view are not perceived as separate and distinct
entities but as participants in a larger social unit. Their experience of identity is reflexive in that it is contingent on
their position relative to others. This is labeled as interdependent view of self. Here there is overlap bw the
interdependent self-overlaps with an individual’s important relationships. Interdependent individuals perceive
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parts of identity that are based on internal characteristics. But within the individual box, there are so many small
x’s signifying that they are less central to their identity. The individual box is also dotted, meaning that it is fluid
in different situations. The border that separates the ingroup and outgroup to show a significant and stable
distinction. People do not easily become ingroup members nor do close relationships easily scatter into outgroup
relations. In sum, interdependent selves consist largely of nodes within networks of individuals tied together by
specific relationships whose identities are grounded in those relationships and who are contrasted with other
netowks of others.
- In another experiment, Chinese and western participants were instructed to consider how they characterized
themselves + mothers. Westerners showed different regions of brain activation suggesting that they represent
themselves and their mothers in distinct ways. In contrast, the Chinese when evaluating themselves or their
mothers, they showed activation patterns in the same brain regions (The medial prefrontal cortex –area linked to
self-representations) This shows that Chinese representations for themselves and their mothers are NOT as
distinct and both reflect the self cocpt.
- Self concept shapes how people think, not just about themselves but about the world in general. Our self-concept
organizes the info we have about ourselves, they direct our attention to information that is viewed to be relevant,
they shape the concerns that we have, they guide us in our choice of relationship partners and the kind of
relationships we maintain and they influence how we interpret situations which in turn influences the emotional
experiences that we have about them. In sum the ways that people view themselves are central to topics of human
cognition, motivation, emotions and relationships.
INDIVIDUALISM AND COLLECTIVISM
- Culture and self can be said to make up each other; as self-concepts are shaped by cultural practices that direct
what individuals attend to, value, believe and are able to attain.
-Individualistic cultures elaborate on independent aspects of themselves and they come to feel distinct from others
and emphasize the importance of being self sufficient. Likewise interdependent selves are more common in
cultures where children typically co-sleep with their parents, where education is a matter decided by families and
marriages are arranged by parents-Collectivistic cultures. People who are participating in collectivistic culture are
more likely to attend to interdependent aspects of their self concepts such as their close relationships and group
- Geert Hofstede decided to test the question of where we find collectivistic vs individualistic cultures. He have
questionnaires to the employees of IBM in different countries. According to this, the most individualistic country
was united states, followed by other English speaking countries and other Western European nations. On the other
hands, countries that scored high on the collectivistic were Latin America and Asia. Other studies have found that
Africa, southern Europe, eastern Europe and the south Pacific . Although interdependent selves appear to be more
common, independent selves predominate.
- One does not need to look in an exotic place to find evidence of collectivism. There are places of collectivism
even in the United states. In a study people from different states were surveyed to calculate a collectivism score
for each state. The one with the highest collectivism was Hawaii probably bc of that state’s large population of
people with Asian ancestry. The least collectivistic were in Northeast and Mideast [note that this is where most of
the uni’s were]. It has been noticed that most of the research has been conducted in countries that score high in
individualism, and even in US, it has been conducted in the places that are most individualistic. [Forms a
misinterpretation bc they always focus on a certain part/group in a country to get the results they want, not much
focus on collectivistic countries]
A NOTE ON HETEROGENEITY OF INDIVIDUALS AND CULTURES
- In reality people cannot be categorized so cleanly into [independent/interdependent] so cleanly; rather the
experience of self appears to track a continuum. Every individual feels a point in their life, when they feel
connected with others and at other times, very distinct. Every individual has both interdependent and independent
parts of the self; however people vary to the degree of which they are closer to the independent or interdependent
side. One important determinant of HOW OFTEN people are experiencing themselves as independent or
interdependent is the situations they encounter on a daily basis. Situations that highlight independent aspects of
the self will be more frequently encountered when participating in an individualistic culture in which cultural
practices emphasize personal goals. Vice versa.
- Cultures are highly variable and are resistant to simple categorization. All cultures are heterogeneous and contain
a great variety of people. The culture has some coherence in that people in the culture are exposed to a similar set
of messages through the media, the institutions they belong to, and the norms and practices that are common.
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