PSYC 203 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Asian Americans, Social Comparison Theory, Avail

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21 Jul 2016
Chapter 6: The Self
6-1 Self-Concept
Identify some key aspects of the self-concept
Cite two types of self-discrepancies, and describe their effects and ways to cope with them
Discuss important factors that help form the self-concept
Explain how individualism and collectivism influence the self-concept
6-1a The Nature of the Self-Concept
The Self Concept an organized collection of beliefs about the self
oEntails your beliefs abut your personality, and things that come to mind when you think of yourself
oAlso called “self-schemas”
People have about important things to them (strengths and weaknesses)
Based on your current and past relationships with significant others (friends, family, romantic partners)
Hazel Markus, Possible selves one’s conceptions about the kind of person one might become in the
oDeveloped from past experiences, current behavior, future expectations
oMake people attentive to goal-related info, role models, practice goal-related skills
oCan be multiple (common in people who experience traumatic events), negative (fear what you
might become)
Motives: enhanced self-esteem, self-perceived effectiveness, sense of meaning/purpose, etc.
Self-concepts not concrete, but not easily changed, dynamic quality
oStrongly motivated to maintain constant view across time/situations
oOnce established, often defended
oChanges most when moved from comfortable to unfamiliar environment
6-1b Self-Discrepancies
Several organized self-perceptions: actual self, ideal self, ought self (should)
Self-discrepancy consists of a mismatch between the self-perceptions that make up the actual self, ideal
self, and ought self
Self-Discrepancies and their effects
Differences between self-perceptions = emotional vulnerabilities
oIf expectations met, high self-esteem, if not, low self-esteem
Certain types of self-discrepancies = specific emotions
oActual self at odds with ideal self = dejection-relation emotions (sadness, disappointment)
oActual/ideal discrepancies outnumber actual/ideal congruencies = increased sadness, decreased
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oMismatch between actual and ought-self = agitation-related emotions (irritability, anxiety, and
3 factors for feeling good with discrepancies
1. Amount of discrepancy experienced
2. Person’s awareness of discrepancy
3. Whether actually important
Coping with Self-Discrepancies
Can change behavior to make it more in line with their ideal or ought selves
Can blunt your self-awareness (less positive)
oSome people use alcohol
Heightened self-awareness intensifies people’s internal sensations, but doesn’t always make people
6-1c Factors Shaping the Self-Concept
One’s Own Observations
Social comparison theory proposes that individuals compare themselves with others in order to assess
their abilities and opinions
oStronger positive/negative emotions when comparing to self or close friend/peer
oComparing “current self” to “past self”
Reference group a set of people who are used as a gauge in making social comparisons
oPeople choose them strategically (to make self look good)
oUpwards social comparisons can motivate and direct efforts
oDownward social comparison (comparing to people “worse off”) make feel better
Observations of self not entirely objective but general tendency to distort reality in positive direction
The “N-effect”, number of recognized or known competitors appears to reduce the motivation to compete
(more numbers = worse outcomes)
Feedback from Others
Shaped significantly by the feedback received from important people in their lives
Parents/other family members play dominant role during childhood
Strong relationship b/w child’s perceptions of their parents’ attitudes towards them and own self-views
During adolescence, parents/classmates provide important feedback
Later in life, close friends and marriage partner’s feedback assumes importance
“Michelangelo phenomenon” process of partner’s role in “sculpting” into reality of ideal self of a loved one
Feedback is filtered through existing self-perceptions
Social Context
Affects things like impressions they may knowingly convey to others in different situations
Cultural Values
American culture, high premium on individuality, competitive success, strength, skill
oConfidence when meeting social expectations
Different cultures shape different conceptions of self
Individualism involves putting personal goals ahead of group goals and defining one’s identity in terms
of personal attributes rather than group memberships
Collectivism involves putting group goals ahead of personal goals and defining one’s identity in terms of
the groups one belongs to
Increases in culture’s affluence, education, urbanization, and social mobility tend to foster more
6-2 Self-Esteem
Clarify the implications of self-concept confusion and self-esteem instability
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