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Chapter 17

PSYCH 2B03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 17: California Psychological Inventory, Consistency, Long-Term Memory

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Jennifer Ostovich

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Chapter 17 What you know about you- The Self
- Me: collection of statements you could make about yourself
- I: the little person in the head (homunculus), the soul, which experiences your life and makes your decisions
The Self Across Cultures
Is the self a cultural artefact?
- Americans vs. Hindu Indians: 50% Americans used personality traits such as friendly and cheap, whereas only 20% Indians
used them is the American-style sense of self a distinctly western idea?
o Since 20% of them did use it idea is not totally foreign
o The long winded descriptions may essentially mean the same things
- Still deserves attention traits used less often than they are in western cultures
o Not that they lack a sense of self
Individualist and collectivist selves
- study the nature of the self across cultures
- individualism and collectivism
- Western self is more of a separate entity, and eastern self is more integrated into the social and cultural context
o May explain why self-expression is less in Eastern culture
Self regard
- individualist’s need for positive self-regard may be felt less acutely by a member of a collectivist culture
- e.g. Japanese may not have to pervasive need to think well of themselves that is so characteristic of N Americans they tie
their individual well-being to that of a larger group
- students respond differently to success, failure and negative self-relevant information Canadian college students search
for ways to think well of themselves if they failed a test, Canadians deny the task/persist less if they failed on the first one
- self determination
- individualist view of the self assumes that the cause of behavior lies within the person expected to behave consistently
from situation to situation (consistency associated with mental health)
- collectivist might be expected to change his behaviour more as a function of the particular immediate situation
o less pressure to behave consistently and less conflicted about inconsistent behaviour
o emotional experience varies across situations more
- consistency can be conceptualized and analyzed in 2 ways:
o degree to which an individual varies his behavior or experiences from one situation to the next absolute
o degree to which an individual maintains his differences from other people across situations relative consistency
o e.g. brave person might be nervous in burning house than in a normal classroom (low absolute consistency), but
they still might be the most confident person present in both situations (high relative consistency)
- Japanese had more inconsistent emotional experience in an absolute sense (emotions changed more from one situation to
the next) but they had equally consistent emotional experience in a relative sense (happier than others in one situation also
tended to be happier in another situation)
o While Members of a collectivist culture may be more inconsistent in an absolute sense than members of
individualistic cultures, individual differences and associated personality traits appear to be equally important in
both contexts
The Contents of the Self
- the me includes not just personality traits but our body, home, possessions and everything we hold dear
- psychological self: central part of the self- our abilities, personalities
o your self image and need to maintain it modifies your behaviour and organizes your vast array of memories about
yourself as well as your impressions and judgements of other people
- self knowledge has two types:
o declarative knowledge: facts, impressions that we consciously know and can describe
o procedural knowledge: knowledge expressed through actions rather than words
e.g a shy person will avoid other people whenever possible
may not consciously realize how characteristic this behaviour is (well, they might know unconsciously)

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includes patterns of social skills, styles of relating to others that comprise the relational self and
unconscious self knowledge that resides in the implicit self
The Declarative Self
- comprises all your conscious knowledge or opinions about your own personality traits
- (1) overall opinion about whether you are good, bad, worthy, unworthy or somewhere in between self esteem
- (2) more detailed opinion that contains everything you know or think you know about your traits and abilities may be
correct or not
Self esteem
- low SE is correlated with dissatisfaction, hopelessness, loneliness, delinquency and depression
- related to suicidal rates, although also to fear of death
- SE tends to suffer when you have failed in eyes of your social group motivates you to restore reputation (evolutionary
- High SE means success and acceptance by one’s social group
- If you say phrases that are too extreme (suppose to be uplifting), it may have a boomerang effect and make person feel
- People who self-enhance (think they are better than they actually are) run into problems in relationships, mental health
and adjustements
- Overly high SE can lead to behavior that is arrogant, abusive, criminal
- Narcissism is associated with high SE that is brittle because it is unrealistic
o When provoked, will retaliate in offending ways
- Promoting psychological health is not jus trying to make someone feel better about themselves
o Need it raise SE through legit experiences (accuracy)
The self-schema
- some believe that the declarative self resides in the self-schema includes all ideas about the self, organized into a
coherent system
- person reaches into this memory system when asked about their personality
- can be identified using S, B data or both
- identified college students who were schematic for the traits of dependence and sociability by asking them to rate
themselves on a series of scales
o if this indicated hta thtey were extremely sociable and they also rated his sociability important deemed
schematic for that trait
o used California psychological inventory to gather self ratings on traits of responsibility and sociability when S
data indicated exceptionally high score on responsibility participant deemed schematic for that trait
- also gathered B data through reaction times: read words such as friendly on a screen and responded by pressing me or not
me responded to relevant traits more quickly than did aschematics
- implication: one’s self view (conceptualized as a schema or a trait) may have important consequences for how one
processes information
o being schematic for a trait makes you an expert about that trait tends to see the world in terms dictated by
their expertise, this limits their view of the world
o fail to test possibilities beyond limits of expertise, fail to see beyond boundaries of own self-image
- schema embodies knowledge based on past experience but not on any particular past experience
o can loose all memory and still be able to describe personality accurately
o could describe herself in ways of how she had changed during the past year
o man almost lost all memory of specific events of his life but still had general knowledge of himself that agreed with
others impressions of him
o your self view would not change even if you lost memory of your past your impressions of what you are like
does not depend on memory for specific things you’ve done once its formed
Self-reference and memory
- another indication for the deep roots of the self is its implications for memory
- if you repeat something over and over in your mind, this rehearsal will be sufficient to move the information into your long
term memory (LTM)? nope
o not just repeat it but you have to think about it (elaboration)
o the longer and more complex the processing that piece of information receives more likely it is to get
transformed into LTM
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