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Chapter 11

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PSYC 251
Elizabeth Kelley

Page 362-383, 21 pages Page 1 of8 Chapter 11: Understanding Self & Others WHO AM I? SELF-CONCEPT • Self-Concept: Attitudes, behaviours, and values that a person believes make him or her a unique individual. Origins of Self-Recognition • William James: Foundation of self-concept is the child’s awareness of his/her own existence, independently of other people and objects in the environment and continuing over time. • I-Self: Self as observer, experiencer, knower and actor – I sense parts of myself, I know myself, continuity of identity, coherence, and agency. I-self develops early in infancy. • Me-Self: Attributes of me, e.g. material characteristics, psychological characteristics, and social characteristics. Testing this requires verbal report. • 2-4 Months: Understanding of agency • 8 Months: Separation anxiety, understanding of self separate from mother. • 9 to 12 Months: Joint attention and social referencing • At 9 months, a baby looks at a mirror and touches the face or waves at it – interacting with the image as an interesting stimulus without recognizing themselves • Rouge test with a red mark on the infant’s face; at around 18 months, babies see the red mark in the mirror, then reach up and touch their own noses instead of simply reaching for the mark in the mirror at 12 months. By age 2 (24 months), most children are capable of this. • This has been tested with infants who have never seen mirrors previously to remove confound, with Israeli desert communities. These infants show the same developmental trend. • Around 20 months, toddlers look more at photographs of themselves than of other children, start referring to themselves by name or with personal pronouns (I, me), and sometimes know their age and gender. These all suggest that self-awareness is well-established by age 2. • Development of self-conscious emotions such as shame and pride around age 2. The Terrible Twos of saying no and refusing to act by parents’ instructions show ability to differentiate their own desires and goals from parents, learning to think for themselves independently. • Self-awareness grows from social interaction in infancy, differentiating that interactions involve different roles for the caregiver and infant (my and other roles). • Infant’s understanding of their own body is another root of self-awareness, from observing their own movements to pinpoint “that’s not just any hand, that’s my hand” by 3-5 months. Play with objects contributes, providing opportunities to explore how their movements relate to the physical world. • Soon after self-awareness develops, autobiographical memory emerges with recognition of continuity in the self over time. This is fostered by conversations with parents about the past and future, e.g. birthdays. • Understanding of ownership also implies awareness of continuity of self over time, with past experience of playing with the toy extending to ownership in the present • Once self-awareness is established with understanding of their existence and a unique mental life, they begin to want to define themselves by acquiring a self-concept The Evolving Self-Concept • For preschoolers, self-concept consists of observable concrete attributes such as physical characteristics, preferences, possessions, and competencies (“I can count to 50”). They also emphasize personal characteristics that are relatively unchanging across time and setting, and tend to overestimate abilities, Page 362-383, 21 pages Page 2 of8 • Asian children have self-concepts defined more by social relationships • At 5-7 years, self-concepts tend to include more emotions, social groups to which they belong (“I’m on the hockey team”), and describe their level of skill compared to peers (“I’m the best speller in my class”) • Use higher-order descriptors, such as “I’m smart” rather than “I’m good with words” • In adolescence, self-concepts include attitudes (“I love chemistry”) and personality traits, as well as religious and political beliefs. Self-concept also tends to vary with setting. • Adolescents’ self-concepts are also future-oriented, such as occupational goals, educational plans, or social roles • With age, self-concept becomes richer and the type of knowledge individuals have of themselves changes. Adolescents’ understanding is more abstract and psychological – this reflects the type of developmental trend Piaget describes, moving from the real and tangible to the abstract and hypothetical. • Early adolescents in grade 7 may feel distress at opposing attributes, but later realize self can be different in different contexts – unify separate traits into higher-order descriptors. E.g. Adaptable in social settings vs. being distressed over being sociable with friends but reserved with colleagues. The Search for Identity • Adolescents use hypothetical reasoning skills to experiment with different selves, imagining themselves in different roles particularly career-oriented. Testing is also romantically-oriented, or involve religious and political beliefs. • Adolescent Egocentrism describes the self-absorption that marks the teenage search for identity. Adolescents know others have different perspectives on the world, but still wrongly believe they are the focus of others’ thinking. This phenomenon is the imaginary audience – their performance is being watched constantly by peers. • Personal Fable: Adolescent tendency to believe their experiences and feelings are unique, that no one has ever felt or thought as they do, and that no one could understand the power of their emotions. • Illusion of Invulnerability: Misbelief that misfortune only occurs to others, e.g. they believe they can have sex without becoming pregnant since that misfortune could not happen to them. • These biases all become less common as adolescents progress towards achieving an identity. • Erikson: Adolescent identity crisis, as part of a particular psychological or social crisis that must be met and resolved in each of the 8 stages across the lifespan. This could result in two opposing outcomes, identity or role confusion. • Marcia: In dealing with the identity crisis, experience different phases or statuses: o Diffusion: Individuals in this state are confused or overwhelmed by the task of achieving an identity, and are doing little to achieve one. o Moratorium: Still examining different alternatives, yet to find a satisfactory identity o Foreclosure: Passively accept an identity determined largely by adults, rather than from personal exploration of alternatives. May be much more common in cultures without same opportunities for exploration as North American adolescents. Page 362-383, 21 pages Page 3 of 8 o Achievement: Have explored alternatives and have deliberately chosen a specific identity. More mature and motivated than the other phases. • These 4 phases do not necessarily occur in sequence. In the diffusion and foreclosure states, adolescents are avoiding the crisis or the choice of defining an identity. • Over time, achievement and moratorium become more common – but are occurring later in life with higher university/college and grad school attendance rates • Individuals do not reach achievement status for all aspects of identity at the same time, e.g. for occupation before religion, or vice versa. Diffusion Moratorium Foreclosure Achievement Crisis Present or In crisis Absent Has occurred absent Commitment Absent Present but vague Present – strong but Has occurred – is comes from others committed, decision made on own terms Family Parents laissez- Adolescents often Parents overly Parents encourage Factors faire in child- involved in involved with children autonomy and rearing; ambivalent struggle Families avoid connections with rejecting or with parental expressing teachers; differences unavailable authority explored differences Personality Mixed results: Most anxious and High levels of High ego development, Factors low ego- fearful of success authoritarianism and moral reasoning, self- development, stereotypical thinking, certainty, self-esteem, moral-reasoning High ego obedience to performance under development, moral- and self- reasoning, self- authority, dependent stress, and intimacy certainty esteem relationships Choosing a Career • Crystallization: Use of emerging identities, talents, and interests as a source of ideas about careers, around age 13-14. Decisions are provisional, with experimenting with hypothetical careers and trying to envision what each may be like. • Specification: Individuals around age 18 further limit their career possibilities my learning more about specific careers and starting to obtain training required for a specific job. Those choosing higher education choose certain universities and programs, while others may begin apprenticeships at a trade. • Implementation: End of teenager years and early 20s, where individuals enter the workforce and learn first-hand about jobs. This includes learning about responsibility, productivity, getting along with co- workers, and altering one’s lifestyle to accommodate work. This period is often unstable, an individual may change jobs frequently. • There is continuous give-and-take between an individual’s identity and career choice; one’s self- concept makes some careers more attractive than others, and occupational experiences in turn refine and shape identity. • Interest in expressive or artistic activities, and interest in working with one’s hands or outdoors remain stable across adolescence and young adulthood. • When parents encourage discussion and recognize autonomy, the children are more likely to reach achievement status – encouraged to undertake personal experimentation. In contrast, parents who set up rules with little justification and strict enforcement keep their children in the foreclosure status. • Women who had achievement and foreclosed identity statuses were most likely to have securely attached children, due to a strong sense of self and a high commitment status, enhancing parenting. Ethnic Identity Page 362-383, 21 pages Page 4 of 8 • About 18.5% of adolescents and young adults in Canada are members of an ethnic minority group. An ethnic identity is feeling a part of one’s ethnic group and learning the special customs and traditions of their group’s culture and heritage (ethnicity and cultural, not race) • This identity is achieved by first examining their ethnic roots, demonstrating interest in their heritage. Adolescents begin to explore the personal impact of their ethnic heritage, such as by learning cultural traditions and going to cultural festivals. Individuals then achieve a distinct ethnic self-concept. • Older adolescents more likely to have achieved an ethnic identity due to more opportunities to explore their cultural heritage. Encouragement by parents and preparation for possible discrimination also help. • Ethnic identity questioning highest in adolescence, more aware of racism and questioning values of parents • Unlike native-born ethnic children, immigrant adolescents face the task of negotiating a culture largely unfamiliar to them when they enter a new country, and do not immediately identify with their new culture. • Adolescents with a strong ethnic identity tend to have higher self-esteem and find their social interactions more satisfying; they’re happier, worry less, and do better in school. • A strong ethnic identity has protective effects against prejudice • Some are able to have a well-defined ethnic self-concept and identify strongly with mainstream culture, while for others identifying with the mainstream weakened ethnic identity in others Ethnic-Identity Component Preschool Level Early School Level Ethnic knowledge Simple, global knowledge Complex and specific knowledge, including cultural traits Ethnic self-identification Empty labels: “I’m Mexican Meaningful labels: “I’m Mexican because my mom says so” because my family is from Mexico” Ethnic constancy Don’t understand Understand permanence of ethnicity Ethnic-role behaviours Engage in and describe Engage in more role behaviours, know behaviours, but don’t understand about ethnic relevance ethnic label Ethnic feelings an Undeveloped: do as their families Have feelings and preferences dpreferences do Acculturation • As successive generations become more assimilated into mainstream culture, their ethnic identity may weaken • Acculturation: The process of integrating into and adopting the customs of a different culture. • Adolescents completed questionnaires which measured acculturation, cultural identity, language proficiency, contact with peers w
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