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PSYCH 2C03 (81)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - The Self in a Social World

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Jennifer Ostovich

Alena Tran Social Psychology Textbook Notes Fourth Canadian Edition Myers-Spencer-Jordan Chapter 2: Self Concept Examples of what’s happening in the world around us and what’s going on in our heads:  Social surroundings shape how we think about ourselves  Self-interest colors our judgments about others and ourselves (ex. Few divorced people blame themselves)  Looking good to others motivates our social behavior Self Concept: Who Am I? Intuition  Some people seem to “just know” who they are Powers and perils of intuition Intuitionists believe that important information is immediately available apart from our conscious analysis. However, skeptics say that intuition is “knowing we are right whether we are or not”. Research suggests that unconscious indeed controls much of our behavior. “Most of a person’s every day life is determined not by their conscious intentions and deliberate choices but by mental processes that are put into motion by features of the environment and that operate outside of conscious awareness and guidance.” Ex. When the light turns red, we react and hit the brake before consciously deciding to do so. We know more than we know we know.  Thinking is partly controlled (reflective, deliberate, conscious)  And as well as partly automatic (impulsive, effortless, and without our awareness)  Automatic, intuitive thinking occurs not “on-screen” but off screen, out of sight, where reason does not go. Example:  Schemas – mental templates – guide our perceptions and interpretations of our experience.  Emotional reactions – often instantaneous before there is time for deliberate thinking. Ancestors who intuitively feared a sound in the bushes did usually fear nothing but they were more likely to survive to pass their genes down to us than their more deliberative cousins.  Some things we remember explicitly (consciously), but other things we remember implicitly, without consciously knowing and declaring that we know  Blind sight  Subliminal stimuli may nevertheless have intriguing effects Alena Tran Social Psychology Textbook Notes Fourth Canadian Edition Myers-Spencer-Jordan Intuitions about the self Why did you choose your university? Why did you fall in love with that special person?  We produce plausible answers  Causes are subtle, our self-explanations are often wrong Richard Nisbett and Stanly Schachter (1966) Method: Gave participants fake pills in which they told them that after they took it they would feel heart palpitations, breathing irregularities, and butterflies. Results: People who took the fake pill tolerate more shock than people who didn’t take the pill because they attributed their shock symptoms to the pill. Debrief: When asked why they withstood the shock they didn’t mention the pill. When they were told about the pill they insisted, “I didn’t even think about the pill” Daniel Wegner – The Illusion of Conscious Will – people will feel that they have willed an action when their action-related thought precedes a behavior that seems otherwise unexplainable Predicting our behavior  People also err when predicting their behavior  Many of us are vulnerable  Self predictions are hardly accurate (ex. Relationships)  People who know you can probably predict your behavior better than you can  The best advice to improve self predictions is to consider your past behavior in similar situations. To predict your future, consider your past.  We can sometimes better predict people’s behavior by asking them to predict others’ actions.  Allowing time to pass without allowing people to actually think about the decision would allow the automatic or unconscious thought to influence the decision.  Unconscious intuitions might be better guides than we have previously thought Predicting our feelings  Many of life’s big decisions involve predicting our future feelings Ex. Would marrying this person led to lifelong contentment?  Sometimes we know how we feel; other times we may misinterpret our responses Examples:  When not aroused, one easily mispredicts how one will feel and act when aroused  Hungry shoppers do more impulse buying  Only one in seven occasional smokers predicts that they will be smoking in five years  People overestimate how much their well-being would be affected by warmer winters, losing weight, more television channels, or more free time Alena Tran Social Psychology Textbook Notes Fourth Canadian Edition Myers-Spencer-Jordan  Impact bias: overestimating the enduring impact of emotion-causing events  In actuality, faster than we expect, the emotional traces of such good tidings evaporate  We are especially prone to impact bias after NEGATIVE events  In focusing the negative event we discount the importance of everything else that contributes to happiness and so over predict our enduring misery  East Asians are less susceptible to the impact bias The wisdom and illusions of self-analysis  We are unaware of much that goes on in our minds  We are more aware of the results of our thinking than its process Ex. In an experiment people chose one of two art posters to take home. Those asked first to identify reasons for their choice preferred a humorous poster. But a few weeks later, they were less satisfied with their choice than were those who just went by their gut feelings and generally chose the other poster  We have a dual attitude system: our implicit attitudes (automatic) regarding someone or something often differ from our consciously controlled, explicit attitudes.  Verbalized explicit attitudes may change with education and persuasion; implicit attitudes change slowly, with practice that forms new habits Fitting In: Looking to others How we are viewed by others and how we fit into our social groups are central to how we define ourselves. - When people think well of us, it helps us think well of ourselves The looking glass self: our using others as mirrors as a mirror for perceiving ourselves  Our ancestors fate depended on what others thought of them; survival increased when protected by their group Social comparison  Our comparisons to others are a strong determinant of our self-views Experiment: Exposed first and fourth year accounting students to a newspaper involving a star student who’s in accounting that won numerous of awards. First year: high super star comparison Fourth year: high no comparison First years looked up at him as a role model, feeling inspire that maybe one day will be them; fourth years didn’t think they were comparable to him  Social comparison: evaluating ones abilities and opinions by comparing oneself to others  They shape our identities as rich or poor, smart or dumb, tall or short. Alena Tran Social Psychology Textbook Notes Fourth Canadian Edition Myers-Spencer-Jordan  We compare ourselves with those around us and become conscious of how we differ  Self esteem: a person’s overall self-evaluation or sense of self-worth, is a psychological gauge by which we monitor and react to how others appraise us  Self esteem depends on whether or not we believe we have traits that make us attractive to others and not the traits that we say we value the most  Self esteem maintenance predicts friction amongst many social relationships  When self esteem is threatened, people often react by putting others down, sometimes with violence  Wounded pride motivates retaliation  Do high self-esteem people have a low self-esteem inside of them? Studies have shown no result. Ex. Hitler had very high self esteem  Self esteem comes in two forms: explicit (consciously controlled) and implicit (automatic or intuitive)  Positive explicit self esteem and low implicit self esteem they are likely to have a fragile self esteem  People with low implicit self esteem adopt
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