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John Lydon (79)
Chapter 3&8

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McGill University
PSYC 215
John Lydon

Chp 3: The Social Self Nature of the Social Self • Begins with William James ◦ In book: The Principles of Psychology (1980), James introduced numerous self-related concepts and distinctions that continue to inspire research today ◦ Our sense of who we are is forged in our interactions with others, shaping, in turn, how we interact with others and how they see themselves. • Three primary components of the self (may differ in prominence across individuals): ◦ Individual self: Beliefs about our unique personal traits, abilities, preferences, tastes, talents, and so forth ◦ Relational self: Beliefs about our identities in specific relationships. ◦ Collective self: Beliefs about our identities as members of social groups to which we belong Origins of Self-knowledge • Socialization agents: parents, grandparents, siblings and teachers; teach children what they view as socially appropriate and values attitudes and behaviours. • Charles H. Cooley (1902), coined the phrase “looking-glass self” ◦ People's reactions to us serve as mirror of sorts, reflecting our image so that we, too can see it. • Reflected self-appraisals: Beliefs about what others think of our social selves. ◦ Our reflected self-appraisals often do not correlate highly with the appraisals that others actually make of us. ◦ Self views affect reflected self-appraisals rather than the other way around. ◦ Jennifer Pfeifer et al. : ▪ medial prefrontal cortex is heightened during self-referential cognition (ie. Who am I?) ▪ temporal-parietal junction and others are heightened with taking the perspective of others (ie. What do others think about me?) ▪ Using fMRI, Pfeifer found that in adolescents especially both brain regions were strongly activated (more strongly than in adults) • adolescents' sense of self is especially likely to be based on their beliefs about others' views of them. • (Box 3.1) Frank Sulloway (1996,2001): Firstborns are often more responsible and more likely to support the status quo than younger siblings, who often more mischievous, more open to novel experieves and more likely to rebel against authority Situationism and the Social Self • Working self-concept: Subset of self-knowledge that is brought to mind in a particular context (term coined by Markus and Wurf in 1987) • William Mcguire andAlice Padawer-Singer (1978): ◦ Distinctiveness hypothesis: we highlight what makes us unique in a given social situation ◦ Asked sixth graders at different schools to spend 7 mins describing themselves. Results Fig 3.1 pg. 71 ◦ Experiment confirmed hypothesis • Social self is both malleable, shifting from one context to another and stable; had core components that persist across contexts ◦ Although content of working self-concept varies across situations, core components of self- knowledge are likely to be on the top of the mind whenever a person thinks about the self ◦ Aperson's overall pool of self-knowledge remains relatively stable over time, providing a sense of self-continuity, even as diff pieces of self-knowledge come to the fore in diff contexts Culture and the Social Self • American declaration of Independence: prioritized the rights and freedoms of the individual and protected those right and liberties from infringment ◦ Independent self-construals: lead to a comception of the self in terms of traits that are stable across time and social context • Chinese philosopher Confucius: emphasized importance of the knowing one's place in society, of honoring traditions, duties, and social roles, and of thinking of others before the self ◦ Independent self-construals: self if fundamentally connected to other people ▪ Influence of social context and the situation is greater on current behavior ▪ In Japanese the word 'I' that is used, usually depends on situations • They say I different when talking to their colleague, child, close female friends, etc. • Sometimes they use the work “jibun” which originally meant “my portion” Gender and the Social Self • In both US and Japan, women tend to construe the self in more interdependent terms than med do ◦ Men tend to be more attuned to their own internal responses, such as increaded HR, whereas women are more attuned to situational cues, such as other people's reactions ▪ Due to evolution and upbringing Social Comparison • Social comparison theory: The hypothesis that people compare themselves to other people in order to obtain an accurate assessment of their own opinions, abilities and internal states (Leon Festinger) ◦ people usually engage in downward social comparison (comparing yourself to people who are a little worse) ◦ Cancer patients compare themselves to those who are worse off, but initiate contact with those who are better off ◦ People engage in upward comparisons when they want to improve themselves, ie. Get better grades etc. ◦ People tend to evaluate themselves with routinely used comparison targets, such as best friends or siblings Narratives about the Social Self • Westerners tend to experience and recall events from the inside out- with themselves at the center, looking out at the world. • Easterners are more likely to experience and recall events from the outside in – starting from the social world, looking back at themselves as an object of attention. Organization of Self-Knowledge • Our social selves depend on our ability to remember, to know who we are and other people are ◦ William Thompson (1985), who suffered from Korsakoff's syndrome – destruction of memory structures in brain due to alcohol abuse, was unable to remember things fro more than a second or two ◦ As a result, created false identities for people he encountered and his social self would move quickly from one identity to the next Self-Schemas • Self-schemas: Cognitive structures, derived from past experience, that represent a person's beliefs and feelings about the self in particular domains ◦ Hazel Markus (1977) experiment: ▪ Called participants who labeled themselves as dependent or independent as “Schematic” ▪ Participants for whom neither dependence nor independence was important to their self- definition were defined as “aschematic” ▪ Participants returned to laboratory a couple of weeks later ▪ Schematic participants judged schema-relevant traits as true or not true of themselves much more quickly than aschematic participants • Suggests that people are particularly attuned to information that maps onto a self- schema • Our network of self-schemas helps us remember information we encounter • Self-reference effect: Tendency for information that is related to the self to be more thoroughly processed and integrated with existing self-knowledge, thereby making it more memorable ◦ if you personalize how you perceive and understand events and objects in the environment, you will be more likely to think about and remember that information • Self-complexity: Tendency to define the self in terms of multiple domains that are relatively distinct from one another in content ◦ People who are high in self-complexity tend to define themselves in terms of multiple domains, which are relatively non-overlapping (or distinct) in content. ◦ Having low self-complexity (ie. Putting your 'self eggs' in one basket) can be risky in the face of threatening, self-relevant events ▪ High self-complexity can serve a buffering function when people face a threat to one domain of the self Self-Esteem • 1987, California Governor George Deukmejian signedAssembly Bill 3659 into law ◦ Bill allocated a budget for a self-esteem task force, charged with understanding the effects of self-esteem on drug use, teenage pregnancy, and high school dropout rates and with elevating school children's self-esteem Trait and State Self-Esteem • Self-esteem: positive or negative overall evaluation that each person has of himself or herself ◦ Trait self-esteem is a person's enduring level of self-regard across time. Fairly stable over time. ◦ State self-esteem refers to the dynamic changeable self-evaluations that are experienced as momentary feelings about the self ▪ rises and falls according to transient moods and specific construal processes that arise in different situations ▪ As males move from early adolescence to early adulthood, self esteem tends to rise. For females, self esteem tends to fall Contingencies of Self-worth • Contingencies of self-worth: Self esteem is contingent on – that is, rises and falls with – successes and failures in domain on which a person has based his or her self-worth ◦ The domains that are most important to self-esteem vary from person to person and from culture to culture (and subculture). • Crocker and Park (2004): It's costly to pursue self-esteem in any domain ▪ makes you less autonomous, more anxious and less open to constructive criticism • Sociometer hypothesis:Ahypothesis that maintains that self-esteem is an internal, subjective index or marker of the extent to which a person is included or looked on favorably by others Culture and Self-Esteem • Westerners invented the term self-esteem: reflects a long-standing concern of self-esteem in the West • Westerners have greater self esteem than easterners • As compared to Americans, the Japanese are: ◦ much more often encouraged to engage in “assisted” self-criticism ▪ ex. teachers critique themselves in sessions with their peers ◦ Less likely to give up after a failure ◦ Less often praised for their achievements High Self-Esteem: Good or Bad? • Baumeister et al. (2003): high self-esteem may be linked to a variety of negative outcomes insofar as it may foster narcissism. • Trzensniewski (2006): high self-esteem as assessed in adolescence predicts positive outcomes 11 years later, including a greater likelihood of graduating from college and staying off unempoyment • Although high self-esteem may be largely beneficial, some types of elevated self-regard are associated with troublesome behavior tendencies Motives Driving Self-Evaluation Self-enchancement • Better-than-average effect: The finding that most people think they are above average on various trait and ability dimensions ◦ ex. majority of drivers interviewed while hospitalized for being in an automobile accident rated their drivers skill as closer to 'expert' than 'poor' • If people tend to construe particular trait or ability dimensions in terms of those things at which they excel, then most of them will end up convinced that they are above average ◦ Much stronger better-than-average effects are observed for ambiguous traits that are easy to construe in various ways than for unambiguous traits that are not • Self-evaluation maintenance (SEM) model: model that maintains that people are motivated to view themselves in a favorable light and that they do so through two processes: reflection and social comparison (Tesser) ◦ In areas that are not especially relevant to our self-definition , we engage in reflection, whereby we flatter ourselves by associations with others' accomplishment ▪ ex. feeling extremely proud of friend who wins soccer match ◦ When a domain is relevant to our self-definition, we engage in comparison, assessing how our abilities or performance stack up to that of others ◦ Mechanisms for for avoiding lowering of self-esteem, when the only person you can compare yourself to is better at the task: ▪ You could undermine their performance (See Fig 3.5 pg. 91) ▪ You could decrease your closeness to people who outperform you ▪ Or decrease the relevance of the domain in which they outperform you • People that are well adjusted are more prone to various illusions about the self relative to those who suffer from low self-esteem and unhappiness Self-Verification • Self-verification theory:Atheory that holds that people strive for stable, subjectively accurate beliefs about the self because such beliefs give them a sense of coherence ◦ ex. If you see yourself as extraverted, self-verification theory would predict that you will seek to get others to see you as extraverted ◦ Holds true even for negative self-views ◦ Self verification strategies: ▪ We selectively attend to and recall information that is consistent with (and therefore verifies) our self-views ▪ We create self-confirmatory social environments through our behavior ▪ People also tend to enter into relations that maintain consistent views of the self Self-Regulation: Motivating and Controlling the Self • Self-regulation: processes that people use to initiate, alter, and control their behavior in the pursuit of goals, including the ability to resist short-term awards that thwart the attainment of long-term goals Possible Selves • Possible selves: Hypothetical selves that a person aspires to be in the future ◦ Have a self-regulatory function in that they serve as standards that can motivate goal- directed action • People have to feel that their possible selves are, in fact, attainable, in order to stay motivated Self-Discrepancy Theory • Self-discrepancy theory: Atheory that behavior is motivated by standards reflecting ideal and ought selves. Falling short of these standards produces specific emotions – dejection-related emotions for actual-ideal discrepancies, and agitation-related emotions for actual-ought discrepancies ◦ Actual self: The self that people believe they are ◦ Ideal self: Self that embodies people's wishes and aspirations as held by themselves and by other people for the, ◦ Ought Self: Self that is concerned with duties, obligations, and external demands people feel they are compelled to honor • Promotion focus: Regulating behavior with respect to ideal self standards, entailing a focus on attaining positive outcomes and approach-related behaviors • Prevention focus: Regulating beha
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