PSYCH253 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2, 3, 11, 4: Richard E. Nisbett, George Herbert Mead, Hazel Rose Markus
SchoolUniversity of Waterloo
Chapter2, 3, 11, 4
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Chapter 2, 3, 11, 5, Reading 4: Bergseiker, Leslie, Constantine, and Fiske (2012), Reading 3:
Grossman & Kross (2010)!
The Self in a Social World:!
-Jacquie Varauer and Dale Miller (1997), experimented, 2 participant, one ﬁlled out
questionnaire, while the other waited for 15 minutes. The researcher lets the latter participant
view the former’s report, negative report on their university experience. Those who read a
negative review also tended to report a more negative experience afterwards. Those who had
read positive reviews tended to echo those reviews in their own!
•Social surroundings affect our self awareness; example, only person of our race, gender,
nationality in a group, we tend to notice how we differ and how others are reacting to our
difference, example only woman in an executive meeting!
•Self-interest colours our social judgment; tend to blame others for negative things in our
life, while we will give ourselves credit when good things happen to us. Example, Frederick
Banting and John Macleod received Nobel Prize in 1923, both thought insulin was primarily
their own idea!
•Self-concern motivates our social behaviour, worry about our appearance and monitor
others’ behaviour and expectations and we adjust our behaviour accordingly!
•Social relationships help deﬁne the self; we think of ourselves as linked to the person we’re
with at the moment!
-Our ideas about ourselves affect how we respond to others, and others help shape our sense
-Self concept; how a person views themselves, how they answer the question “Who am I?”!
-Right hemisphere, use anaesthetic to put the right side asleep and you will have trouble
recognizing your own face or that you owned and control a portion of your own body. The
medial prefrontal cortex, neuron path located in the cleft between hemispheres and behind
your eyes, becomes more active when you think about yourself. Self-schemas, beliefs about
self that organize and guide the processing of self-relevant information, mental templates by
which we organize our world, self schemas will affect how we view others. Example if our self-
schema is athletic, we will tend to notice others’ bodies and skills. You will also welcome
information that is consistent with self schema!
-Possible selves; schema will also include who we may become, Hazel Markus notes that our
possible selves include visions of the self we dream of becoming, the rich self, the thin self,
the passionately loved and loving self etc. Also includes the self we fear of becoming,
underemployed self etc.!
-Development of the social self, genetic inﬂuence and social experience make up our self,
impact on our social identity, comparisons we make with others, our successes and failures,
how other people judge us, the surrounding culture!
-Social identity; the deﬁnition of the group you identify with, example, sex, religion, race etc.
when small group surrounded by a larger group, we are often conscious of our social identity,
when it is the majority, we think less of it.!
-Social comparisons; our self of self is shaped by how we compare ourselves to others,
Penelope Lockwood and Ziva Kunda, ﬁrst year or forth year accountant students read an
article about a star accounting student with high achievements. When the 1st and 4th did not
see the article, their self evaluations were similar, but when exposed to article, the 1st had a
more positive evaluation, the 4th year student dropped steeply. These comparisons shape us
as rich or poor, smart or dumb, tall or short, we compare to others and become conscious of
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how we differ. “The big ﬁsh is no longer in a small pond.” We feel handsome when others
seem homely, smart when others seem dull etc.!
-Social comparisons can diminish our satisfaction, when we achieve something, we tend to
compare upward, raising the standards, comparing self with others doing even better, protect
our shaky self-concept by perceiving the competitor as advantaged!
-Success and failure; daily experiences can affect our self-concept, to undertake challenging
tasks and succeed is to feel more competent, achieving more will feed conﬁdence and
empowerment. Success -> self esteem, experiment by telling children positive messages and
how they achieved something can increase self worth. Feelings follow reality.!
-Low self-esteem can cause problems, more prone to drugs and alcohol, less persistent after
failure, prone to insomnia, but problems can also cause low self-esteem!
-What other people think of us will inﬂuence how we think of ourselves. “The looking-glass
self”, Charles H. Cooley describe how we use how others perceive us as a mirror for
ourselves. George Herbert Mead noted that what matters is how others imagine us, more
likely to praise and criticize, this can inﬂate our self image, we overestimate other’s appraisal!
-Self-inﬂation, more striking in Western countries, Kitayama reported that Japanese visitors to
NA were surprised by how friends praised one another. !
-Self esteem is psychological gauge by which we monitor and react to how others appraise us.
Survival is enhanced when protected by group, biological wisdom to feeling shame and low
self-esteem, pain of low self-esteem and social exclusion!
-Self-esteem tracks how we see ourselves on traits that we believe are valued by others, most
believe that social acceptance based on easily observable traits such as appearance and
social skills. Self-esteem corresponds more closely to such superﬁcial traits than to communal
-Self and culture; Western cultures, life is enriched by believing in your power of personal
control. Individualism, concept of giving priority to one’s goals over group goals and deﬁning
one’s identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identiﬁcations, prevails in the
-Eastern cultures, collectivism, priority given to the goals of group such as family or work
group, prevails. The interdependent self, people are more self critical and have less need for
positive self-regard, people in the east say the word “I” less often.!
-In all cultures however, there are always exceptions as individualism varies from person to
-Culture and cognition; Richard Nisbett contends that collectivism also results in different ways
of thinking, East will think of the whole, see relationships more readily, while West will focus
on individual, less on the environment. Example, when shown a picture of a group of children,
Japanese students tend to notice the facial expressions of all children while Americans
focused only on the child they were asked to rate!
-Nisbett and Takahido Masuda concluded that East Asians think more holistically, relating
things to one another instead of focusing on individual parts!
-Eastern place less value on expressing self, while Western places more value on expressing
uniqueness. Interdependent self, people have a greater sense of belonging, social
connections deﬁne who they are, not one self but many, self with parents, self at work, self
with friends. Goal is to harmonize with and support one’s communities, not like individualistic
societies to enhance one’s individual self!
-Self-concepts adjust to our situation!
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-Culture and self-esteem; in collectivist cultures, self esteem is what others think of me and my
group, self concept depends on context, not constant. In individualistic societies, self-esteem
is more personal and less relational, we are more likely to feel angry when you threaten our
self identity than when you threaten our group identity. Individualistic countries persist more
when succeeding as it elevates self-esteem, Western individualists like to make comparisons
with others, Asian collectivists make comparisons upward to facilitate self-improvement!
-When individuals from the East go to Western countries their self concepts will become
inﬂuenced by their culture!
-Self knowledge; sometimes we know why we did certain things, sometimes we don’t, asked
why we have felt or acted as we have, we produce plausible answers that are often wrong,
people recorded their daily moods for 2-3 months along with factors that may affect their
moods, what was found was there is little relationship between their perceptions of their
moods and the factors inﬂuencing it. We are bad predictors of what will make us happy!
-Predicting behaviour, people err when predicting behaviour, example couples tend to predict
longevity of their relationships through rose-coloured glasses. Others tend to be better
predictors for our own behaviours. Planning fallacy, the tendency to underestimate how long it
will take to complete a task. Others are better predictors for how long it will take to predict the
time required for a certain task. Lao-tzu, “He who knows others is learned. He who knows
himself is enlightened.”!
-Predicting Feelings; we know what exhilarates us, what makes us anxious or bored, we can
mispredict our responses. Affective forecasting is when people have difﬁculty predicting the
intensity and duration of their future emotions, examples;!
•Hungry shoppers do more impulse buying, we mispredict how much we will eat, how good
a certain food actually is once we’re no longer hungry!
•Undergraduates who experienced a breakup were less upset afterward than they predicted
they would be, their distress last just as long as thought, but not as hard hit!
-We want, we get, we are happy is the intuitive theory, however, we often miswant, we imagine
something we desire but we may be disappointed when we have, impact bias, overestimating
the enduring impact of emotion-causing events. Moreover, we are prone to impact bias after
negative events. Important to understand impact bias, because future decisions can be
inﬂuenced by affective forecasting.!
-Gilbert and Wilson explains, happiness is inﬂuenced by two things, the event, and everything
else, in focusing on the negative event we may discount the importance of everything else
that inﬂuences happiness. “Psychological immune system”, strategies for rationalizing,
discounting, forgiving, and limiting emotional trauma, immune neglect is the human tendency
to underestimate the ability to recover emotionally after negative events occur in our lives!
-Wisdom and illusions of self-analysis; often our intuitions are wrong about what inﬂuenced us
and why we feel and do what we do. We are unaware of what goes on in our minds, studies
of perception and memory show we are more aware of results of our thinking than the
process of it. Example, a problem spontaneously solved after it has been unconsciously
incubated. Timothy Wilson; the mental processes that control our social behaviour are distinct
different from the mental processes that we use to explain our behaviour. Our rational
explanations omit the unconscious attitudes that guide our behaviour. Wilson did experiments,
found that attitudes people consciously expressed toward things or people usually predicted
their subsequent behaviour well. However these attitude reports became useless if the
participants were ﬁrst asked to analyze their feelings. Dating couples’ current happiness
accurately predicted whether they would still be dating several months later. But if the
participants who listed all the reasons for continuing or ending before rating their happiness, it
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