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Chapter 2

PSY220 chapter 2 textbook notes

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Dax Urbszat

CHAPTER 2 The self in a social world -social surroundings affect our self-awareness -ex: if everyone around you is of a particular race or gender, you will notice how you differ and how others are reacting to your difference -self-interest colours our social judgment -ex: if problems occur you blame it on the other person, when things go well you see yourself as more responsible -self-concern motivates our social behaviour -ex: worry about our appearance to make a positive impression -social relationships help define the self -ex: how we think of ourselves depends on the person we are with at that particular moment SELF-CONCEPT: WHO AM I? Your sense of self -some studies suggest the right hemisphere plays an important role in the brain activity that underlies your constant sense of being yourself -the medial prefrontal cortex seemingly helps stitch together your sense of self -schemas – mental templates by which we organize our worlds -self-schema – beliefs about self that organize and guide the processing of self-relevant information and retrieving experiences -ex: if athletics is central to self-concept, will tend to notice the bodies and skills of others Possible selves -possible selves – images of what we dream/dread becoming in the future -what determines our self-concept?  from studies of twins point to genetic influences on personality and self-concept as well as social experience and: -social identity, comparisons we make with others, successes/failures, how others judge us, the surrounding culture Social identity -social identity – social definition of who you are and who you are not – ex: race, religion, sex, major -social comparison – evaluating your abilities and opinions by comparing yourself to others -ex: first and fourth year students did a self evaluation on themselves then re-evaluated themselves after reading an article about a student in a similar program who won many awards, high gpa and got a great job. Self-evaluations of first years went up as this star student was like a role model and that they could have the same future if things went well….fourth years self-evaluations went down since they could never measure up to this star student and it’s too late in their academic career to go back -success-feeds-self-esteem principle – to succeed in challenging yet realistic tasks makes one feel more competent -ex: after academic success, students believe they are better in school which often stimulates them to work harder and achieve more -people with sense of self-worth are happier, less neurotic, less insomnia troubles, less prone to addictions like drugs/alcohol, more persistent after failure, healthier -when people think well of us, it helps us think well of ourselves -the looking-glass self  described by Charles H. Cooley, our use of how we think others perceive us as a mirror for perceiving ourselves -refined by George Herbert Mead who said that for our self-concept it’s not how others actually see us but the way which we imagine they see us -people are more likely to compliment than to insult so we may overestimate others’ praise, inflating our self- image – self-inflation found more in western cultures Self and culture -individualism – giving priority to your own goals before group goals and describing your identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications -prevails in industrialized western cultures due to the psychology that your life will be better if you believe in your power of personal control -self-esteem – more personal and less relational -persist more when succeeding (raises self-esteem) -make comparisons with others that increase self-esteem -collectivism – giving priority to the goals of one’s groups (usually extended family or work group) and defining one’s identity accordingly -more common in Asian, African and Central/South American cultures -self-esteem – what others think of me and my group, self-concept = malleable -persist more when failing (not want to fall short of others’ expectations) -make comparisons that facilitate self-improvement -interdependent self – construing one’s identity in relation to others -people more self-critical and less need for positive self-regard -east Asians think more holistically – perceiving and thinking about the relationships of objects/people in their environment -purpose of language: Americans – allows self-expression Korean – allows communication with others -self-concepts seem to adjust to our situation (ex: dealing with same people everyday vs moving and forced to make new friends) -independent vs interdependent -identity is: personal (individual traits/goals) vs social (connections with others) -what matters: me vs we -disapproves: conformity vs egotism -cultures that support: individualistic western vs collectivistic asian Self knowledge -surprisingly friends/family are able to predict behaviours of that individual just as well or even better than the person themselves -planning fallacy – tendency to underestimate how long it will take to complete a task -people have the hardest time predicting the intensity/duration of their future emotions -ex: more impulse buying when hungry -impact bias – overestimating the enduring impact of emotion-causing events -more prone to impact bias after negative events -important because the predictions of their future emotions influences their decisions -psychological immune system – includes strategies for rationalizing, discounting, forgiving, limiting emotional trauma -immune neglect – tendency to underestimate the speed and strength of the psychological immune system which enables emotional recovery and resilience after bad things happen -Wilson found that attitudes people consciously expressed toward things or people usually predicted their subsequent behaviour pretty well however if first asked to analyze their feelings then attitude reports were useless -dual attitudes – differing implicit (automatic) and explicit (consciously controlled) attitudes toward the same object -verbalized explicit attitudes may change with education and persuasion -implicit attitudes slowly change with practice that forms new habits -2 implications on research on limits of our self-knowledge 1) psychological inquiry: self-reports often not trustworthy, errors in self-understanding limit the scientific usefulness of subjective personal reports 2) every day lives: no guarantee of validity of individual reports that interpret their experiences no matter how sincere it may sound -personal testimonies very persuasive SELF-ESTEEM: HOW AM I? -self-esteem: person’s overall evaluation of themselves or sense of self-worth -if you’re going to encourage someone, better if your praise/feedback is true and specific without unrealistic optimism Self-esteem motivation -Abraham Tesser presumed that between siblings people’s perceiving one as more capable would cause the other sibling to act in ways to maintain their self-esteem -UofT researchers found people react more positively to upward comparisons to romantic partners -ex: reduce threat by saying “I’m very close to my partner and therefore they are a part of who I am” -self-esteem warns us about threatened social rejection which motivates us to act with greater sensitivity to other’s expectations -social rejection decreases self-esteem, increases eagerness for approval -Jeff Greenberg suggested that it’s not just about acceptance but knowing we’ll all die someday motivates us to gain recognition from our work and values  not everyone can gain recognition which is why self-esteem so valuable The dark side of self-esteem -
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