Possible Short Answer Questions
1 The “Who Are You?” task asks students to write down things that describe who they are.
Interesting cultural differences emerge in how students respond. Generate five responses
that are characteristic of someone from an independent culture and five responses that are
characteristic of someone from an interdependent culture. Then, describe how these
- Independent Culture: Includes much of the West.
o Like to assert their uniqueness and independence.
o Have a high self-esteem.
▪ When having high self-esteem, people may be more sensitive to threats,
insults, and challenges.
▪ Might not be stable across time, making the person feel insecure.
▪ May be more aggressive when self-esteem is threatened.
o Tend to look at the scene from their own original point of view.
o Tend to look from themselves to the outside world.
o Men tend to have more independent views.
- Interdependent Culture: the self is fundamentally connected to other people.
o Have to find a place in their community and to fulfill certain roles.
o Close attention to shifting demands of situations on behavior and close attention
to social contexts.
o Prevalent in Asian Cultures.
o Encourages an onward focus on the social situation.
o Tend to imagine the scene as an observer.
o Tend to look at social world, looking back at themselves as an object of attention.
o Women tend to have more interdependent views.
2 Define social comparison. When do people engage in upward comparisons? When do they
engage in downward comparisons?
- Upward comparisons tend to happen when
- Downward comparisons tend to help us define ourselves favorably, giving a boost to
3 Describe the contingencies of self-worth theory of self-esteem and the sociometer theory of
self esteem. Be sure to mention, for each theory, (a) what is central to an individual’s
level of self-esteem and (b) what this suggests about someone who has low self-esteem.
- Contingencies of Self-Worth: self-esteem is contingent on (rises and falls with) success
and failures in domains on which a person has based his or her self-worth. Self-esteem
tends to rise when things are going well in domains that are personally important to us,
but will drop when things go poorly in these domains.
- Sociometer Hypothesis: self-esteem is primarily a readout of our likely standing with
others; that is, self-esteem is an internal, subjective index of how well we are regarded by
others and hence how likely we are to be included or excluded by them.
o Low self-esteem: act in ways that would increase one’s social acceptance.
o High self-esteem: keep doing what you’re doing. 4 Name and define two of the three positive illusions
- We think that we are better than average.
o We sometimes mistakenly think we have more good traits and success and fewer
flaws and failures than other people.
- We’re unrealistically optimistic.
o Overconfident that good things will happen to us and bad things will not.
5 Explain the difference between “Can I” reasoning and “Must I” reasoning. When are we most
likely to use “Can I” reasoning? When are we more likely to use “Must I” reasoning?
- Most people use the can I reasoning in order to deal with po