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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 The Social Self.docx

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PSYC 215
John Lydon

Chapter 3 The Social Self Social Psychology Nature of the Social Self  Social self is explored in William James‟ The Principles of Psychology; idea of „social me‟- that parts of self are derived from social relationships  Three primary components of self:  Individual self: a person‟s beliefs about his or her own abilities, traits, preferences, etc.; what sets us apart  Relational self: beliefs about our identities in relationships (i.e. wife, coworker)  Collective self: beliefs about our identities as members of social groups to which we belong (i.e. American, Yankee fan)  Family and other socialization elements affect which parts of life become central to our sense of self  “looking glass self” refers to the idea that we know ourselves based on what other people think of us; we internalize how we think other people view us, not how they actually see us; reflected self appraisals do not correlate highly with appraisals others actually make of us  Reflected self-appraisals: beliefs about other people‟s appraisals of our social selves- involves self referential cognition and social perception areas of brain Situationism and the Social Self  Working self-concept: subset of self knowledge that is brought to mind in a given context or situation o i.e. learning you‟ve failed at a task brings negative beliefs and feelings about the self to mind  William McGuire and Alice Padawer-Singer found that we highlight what makes us unique in a given social situation—„distinctiveness theory‟  There is a „core self‟ within us despite our situation (Markus)  Our overall pool of self-knowledge is consistent across situations, providing a sense of continuity  In cultures that promote independent self construal, uniqueness and independence are stressed and the focus is on internal causes of behavior (focus on individual self)  In cultures that promote interdependent self construal, roles within the community and other collectives are stressed and the focus is on the influence of social context and situation on behavior (focus on collective and relational selves)  In the United States, women have been found to be more interdependent than men in the sense that they prioritize connection to others more than men do o Men are more attuned to internal responses like heart rate, whereas women are more attuned to situational cues, like others‟ reactions  Social comparison theory: the hypothesis that people compare themselves to others in order to obtain an accurate assessment of their own opinions, abilities, and internal states (Festinger); we also naturally compare ourselves more to people we believe to be roughly similar to ourselves  Downward social comparisons (comparing ourselves to people worse than us in a given skill or trait) boost our self esteem and help us define ourselves; however, upward social comparisons may help us strive to achieve higher goals  Dan McAdams argues that we see our own life as a narrative that we share with the important people in our lives; people in independent cultures tend to see the narrative as first person whereas people in interdependent cultures see the narrative from an outside perspective, written in third person Organization of Self Knowledge  We rely on our memory to assign identities to the people we experience in our lives in every situation  Self schemas: cognitive structures, derived from past experience, that represent a person‟s beliefs and feelings about the self in particular domains  Schemas are part of our organizational function in self knowledge that helps us construe our social world  Hazel Markus found that people who had self-schemas for particular domains processed information and retrieved information on that domain faster, and viewed information that contradicted that self-schema in a negative way because past actions and experiences supporting that schema are abundant in memory and readily come to mind  Self reference effect: information that is processed in reference to the self tends to be processed more deeply and integrated into our preexisting self knowledge so we remember it better  Self complexity: the tendency to define the self in term of multiple domains that are relatively distinct from one another in content (Patricia Linville)  People who are high in self complexity define themselves with many distinct domains where as people low in self complexity define themselves with few, overlapping domains  People high in self complexity cope with difficult or threatening situations better Self Esteem  People with low self esteem are less satisfied with life, more depressed, and less able to cope with challenges and tend to disengage from tasks after failure  Self esteem: the positive or negative overall evaluation that each person has of him or herself  Trait self esteem: a person‟s enduring level of self regard over time  State self esteem: the dynamic, changeable self evaluations that are experienced as momentary feelings about the self; just like the working self changes with contexts, so does self esteem  People with low self esteem, see temporary setbacks as bigger hits to their self esteem than others, even if they had nothing to do with it (i.e. their school‟s football team lost, so they feel less competent)  Comparing oneself with highly skilled others makes self esteem lower, even if your skill level is average  Contingencies of self-worth: an account of self-esteem that maintains that self esteem is contingent on successes and failures in domains on which a person has based his or her self worth (Crocker & Wolfe)  Students heavily contingent on academic success experienced much bigger effects on self esteem when rejected or accepted to graduate school  It is costly to pursue self esteem in any one particular domain because they make us have lowered feelings of autonomy, less receptiveness to feedback that could be useful for learning, threatened relationships, and heightened anxiety and stress due to the dependence  Sociometer hypothesis: self esteem is an internal, subjective index or marker of the extent to which a person is included or looked on favorably by others; self esteem suggests how successful we are in our social relationships (Leary)  Today, the West places even more emphasis on self-esteem; children are raised to be independent and confident rather than obedient like they were 50 years ago  People in interdependent cultures are more motivated toward self improvement and commit themselves to collective goals  Interdependent cultures participate in more assisted self criticism whereas independent cultures experience more praise for their a
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