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Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Notes- Self-knowledge and the Need to maintain Self-Esteem

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Ingrid L.Stefanovic

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Chapter 5
Self-knowledge and the Need to maintain Self-Esteem
“The Self
Williams James described the basic duality of our perception of self:
1) the self is composed of ones thoughts and beliefs about oneself
2) The self is also the active processor of information, the “knower” or the
Self Concept
- The contents of oneself: that is, our knowledge about who we are.
Self Awareness
- Which is the act of thinking about ourselves.
! These two concepts of the self concept and self awareness combine to
create a coherent sense of identity.
-People who are low on self concept clarity are more likely to be neurotic and
have low self-esteem, and are less likely to be aware of their internal states.
They are less likely to engage in positive forms of self focus such as reflection.
-Self concepts in humans develop around age 2-3 years (using the mirror rough
Self Schemas
- Mental structures that help us to organize our knowledge about ourselves
and that influence what we notice, think about, and remember about
Independent view of the self
- Defining oneself in terms of ones own internal thoughts, feelings, and
actions, and not in terms of the thoughts, feelings and actions of other
- Independence and uniqueness is encouraged.
Interdependent view of the self
- Defining oneself in terms of ones relationships to other people;
recognizing that ones behaviour is often determined by the thoughts,
feelings, and actions of others.
- Independence and uniqueness are frowned upon whereas
interdependence and connectedness are encouraged.
- This view of the self occurs in many Asian cultures and non westernized
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Culture and gender also play a role in how people define themselves.
- The process whereby people look inward and examine their own thoughts,
feelings, and motives.
- Two interesting things about introspection: 1) people do not reply on this
source of information as often as you might think. People spend very little
time thinking about themselves. 2) Even when people do introspect, the
reasons for their feelings and behaviour can be hidden from conscious
-When we are focused on our self, we have a tendency to erroneously assume
that others also share this awareness.
Self-Awareness Theory
- The idea that when people focus their attention on themselves, they
evaluate and compare their behaviour with their internal standards and
- We become self-conscious, in the sense that we become objective,
judgmental observers of ourselves.
- Self-awareness makes us conscious of our internal standards and directs
our subsequent behaviour.
- Self-focus can also be a way of keeping you out of trouble, by reminding
you of your sense of right and wrong. Several studies have found that
when people are self-aware (ex. In front of a mirror), they are more likely
to follow their moral standards, such as avoiding the temptation to cheat
on a test.
- Self awareness can have negative and positive effects, and in those cases
were self-awareness feels aversive, those bad feelings can be alleviated
in either a constructive or deconstructive manner.
Causal Theories
- Theories about the causes of ones own feelings and behaviours: typically,
we learn such theories from our culture.
Self-Perception Theory
- The theory that when our attitudes and feelings are uncertain or
ambiguous, we infer these states by observing our behavior and the
situation in which it occurs.
- We infer our inner feelings form our behavior only when we are not sure
how we feel. Ex, if you are unsure if youre a classical music lover.
- Self perception theory also claims that people evaluate whehther their
behaviour really reflects how they feel or whether the situation they are in
made them act that way.
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