Textbook Notes (362,755)
Canada (158,052)
Psychology (1,390)
PSYC 215 (296)
Chapter 3

Textbook Chapter 3.docx

19 Pages
Unlock Document

McGill University
PSYC 215
Michael Sullivan

Textbook Chapter 3: The Self The self is an important tool with which the human organism makes its way through human society and thereby manages to satisfy its needs. To be effective at this, the human self has taken shape in a way that is marked by some deep, powerful drives. Among these drives is a strong concern with how one is perceived by others. This drive mostly serves the goal of survival or reproduction. However, it is human tendency to care broadly about what other people think of you; even people that you do not depend on for survival or reproduction. What is the self? The self is something hard to define. Some brain researchers claim that the self is an illusion, mostly because they cannot find an area of the brain that corresponds to the self. But we know the self exists because of how we act in our everyday lives. Without the self, how would we know who we were in relation to others, and who, for example, a $20 bill belongs to. The Selfs Main Jobs Selves are structured to serve a function Much of the self is designed to enable you to relate to others, including claiming and sustaining a place in a cultural system that connects you to many other people There is also the conflict between selfish impulse and social conscious. The self knows what is best for them. But on the other hand, selfishness must be kept under control if society is to operate effectively, and selves often incorporate the morals and other values of the culture. These morals often tell you what is best for the group. Hence the self must be able to understand these social morals and other values- plus be able to act on them, even when that requires overriding ones natural, selfish impulses. The self has 3 main parts: Self-knowledge (or self Interpersonal self (or Agent self (or executive concept) public self) function) Information about self Self-presentation Decision making Self-awareness Member of groups Self-control Self-esteem Relationship partner Taking charge of situations Self-deception Social roles Active Responding Reputation These parts correspond to several main things that the self does. o Self-knowledge: Self-awareness allows one to make elaborate sets of believes about the self. The self reflects on itself and stores information about itself as well. o Interpersonal self: Most people have a certain image that they try to convey to others. This public self bears some resemblance to the self-concept, but the two are not the same. The self is often working in complex ways to gain social acceptance and maintain good interpersonal relationships. o Agent self: This is the part that gets things done. It enables the self to make choices and exert control, including both self-control and control over other people (and things). Basically whenever you make a decision to do something, this is the agent self. Who makes the self: The individual or society? Probably the best account of the origins of selfhood is that the self comes into being at the interface between the inner biological processes of the human body and the sociocultural network to which the person belongs (that is, the other people in the society, plus its general store of common beliefs and practices). o Society is very important to the presence of a self; if you lived on a deserted island, there would be no point in having a name, an ethnic identity, a set of morals, etc. At most you would have preferences, but they would not seem like personal values since no one would be around to have an opinion themselves. o Then again, even without meeting other humans, a person might still have a conception of self as a body separate from its environment. (Eg: the difference between dropping a stone on your foot and dropping it on a tree root is an important sign of self). A True or Real Self? o Most people like to think that they have an inner true self, but most social scientists are sceptical of this. They ask if the inner self is different from the presented self, what makes the inner one the true self? o The idea of an inner true self different from behaviour may have its origins in class prejudices. Back when social mobility began to increase, so that some aristocrats became poor while merchants became rich, the upper classes wanted to continue believing that they were inherently better than other people even if the others had more money. The upper class could not point to obvious differences in behaviour, because in many instances aristocrats had deplorable behaviour. Hence the upper class settled on the view that the superiority of the blue bloods lay in their inner traits that could not be directly seen. o Fiction or not, people still believe in the inner true self, and this belief affects how they act. Ralph Turner noted that different cultures (or different groups or historical eras within a culture) may differ in their ideas about the true self by placing emphasis on either of two main approaches: impulse and institution. Self as impulse refers to the persons inner thoughts and feelings. Self as institution refers to the way that the person acts in public, especially in official roles. o Many people realize that they sometimes put on a public performance that differs from how they feel inside. Turners point was that cultures disagree as to whether the public actions or the inner feelings count as the more real or true side to the self. o Attitudes towards marriage may reflect different attitudes about the real self. In cultures that emphasize self as impulse, the actual wedding ceremony and its legal or religious significance are secondary. Marriage is seen as a psychological union of two persons, and what matters is how they feel about each other. If they fall out of love, they may justify leaving their spouse as being true to themselves. Therefore a marriage is only as good as the current emotional state of the partners. In contrast, in a culture that emphasizes the self as an institution downplays the inner feelings and instead places great significance on role performance. A couple may have a good marriage if they act the way they are supposed to as husband and wife, even if they cease to love each other. The actual wedding society counts much more in such societies than it does among the impulse-oriented societies, because it is at the wedding that the real self changes to become married in the eyes of society. Culture and Interdependence o Selves are somewhat different across different cultures. The most studied set of such cultural differences involves independence vs. interdependence. This dimension of difference entails different attitudes toward the self and different motivations as to what the self mainly tries to accomplish, and it results in different emphases about what the self is. o Markus and Kitayama and Triandis: Asians differ from North Americans and Europeans in how they think of themselves and how they seek to construct the self in relation to others. They introduced the term self-construal, which means a way of thinking about the self. An independent self-construal emphasizes what makes the self different and sets it apart from others. An interdependent self- construal emphasizes what connects the self to other people and groups. For example, describe yourself in a list of words. If most of the words are personal attributes, this is more independent. If most of the words are connections to other people, this is more interdependent. They contended that Easterners (Japan, China, Korea) tend to be more interdependent, whereas Westerners (USA, Canda, Western Europe) tend to be more independent. These differences are not just superficial ways of talking about the self; they represent deep seated differences in what the person strives to become. Social Roles o What are selves for? The self has to gain social acceptance; people are not meant to live alone. The self is a tool people use to accomplish goals.
More Less

Related notes for PSYC 215

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.