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PSYB10H3 (611)
Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - The Social Self

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Elizabeth Page- Gould

Chapter 3 – The Social Self  The capacity for self-reflection is necessary for people to feel as if they understand their own motives and emotions and the causes of their behavior  Self is heavily influenced by social factors o The way we manage ourselves is influenced by the people around us  ABCs of self o A: affect o B: behavior o C: cognition  “Cocktail party effect” – tendency of people to pick a personally relevant stimulus out of a complex environment o People are selective in their attention o Self is an important object of our own attention  Self-concept: sum total of beliefs that people have about themselves o Made up of self-schemas: beliefs about oneself that guide the processing of self-relevant information o How the one perceives things (e.g. what books are to a library) o Self-schema for body weight (overweight/ underweight)  When body image is a conspicuous aspect of the self-concept then it is considered schematic  When body image is NOT an important part of their lives its considered as aschematic  Sense of self is biologically rooted  Gallup (1997) – proved that apes can perceive their mirrored images as their own o Self recognition among great apes and human infants is the first clear expression of the concept “me”  Come to know ourselves by imagining what significant others think of us and then incorporating these perceptions into our self-concepts  Self is relational – draw our sense of who we are from our past and current relationships with the significant others in our lives  Gallup tested apes that were raised in isolation, and they did not recognize themselves in the mirror!!!!!  Our self-concepts match our perceptions of what others think of us  Self-knowledge is derived from introspection (one’s own thoughts and feelings) Introspection  Humans keep mentally busy processing information, which is why we often fail to understand our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors  Affective forecasting: difficulty projecting forward and predicting how they would feel in response to future emotional events o Wilson & Gilbert – people overestimate the strength and duration of their emotional reactions (impact bias)  When it comes to negative life events, people do not fully appreciate the extent to which our psychological coping mechanisms help us to cushion the blow  Self-other difference by which we tend to predict that others will suffer even longer than we will  When we introspect about the emotional impact on us of a future event, we become so focused on that single event that we neglect to take into account the effects of other life experiences Chapter 3 – The Social Self Perceptions of Our Own Behaviour  Self-perception theory: The theory that when internal cues are difficult to interpret, people gain self-insight by observing their own behavior o Making an inference about yourself by watching your own actions  People do not infer their own internal states from behavior that occurred in the presence of compelling situational pressures (reward/punishment) o Only when the situation alone seems insufficient to have caused their behavior  Facial feedback hypothesis: changes in facial expression can lead to corresponding changes in emotion o Can evoke and magnify certain emotional states  Emotional state is revealed in the way you carry yourself o The way you carry yourself can also affect your emotional state  Intrinsic motivation: factors within a person o E.g. being intrinsically motivated when people engage in an activity for the sake of their own interest  Extrinsic motivation: factors outside the person o Being extrinsically motivated when people engage in an activity as a means for tangible benefits  Overjustification effect: the tendency for intrinsic motivation to diminish for activities that have become associated with reward or other extrinsic factors o People begin to wonder if the activity was ever worth pursuing in its own right o Getting paid for a task they already enjoy causes the person to lose interest in it o “Accept money for a leisure activity, and what used to be play comes to feel more like work” Influences of Other People  Social comparison theory: the theory that people evaluate their own abilities and opinions by comparing themselves to others o People evaluate themselves through comparisons with similar others  Two-factor theory of emotion: the theory that the experience of emotion is based on two factors: physiological arousal and a cognitive interpretation of that arousal o Physiological arousal: racing heart, perspiration, rapid breathing, tightening of the stomach o Cognitive interpretation: the people around us help us interpret our own arousal o When people are unclear about their own emotional states, they sometimes interpret how they feel by watching others  Level of physiological arousal cannot be too intense or it will be experienced as aversive Autobiographical Memories  Self-concept shapes our personal memories  Brown & Kulik – flashbulb memories: enduring and detailed recollections of dramatic events  Autobiographical memory is a vital part of our identity Culture and the Self-Concept  Different cultural orientations: o Individualism  North American  Virtues of independence, autonomy, and self-reliance  One’s personal goals take priority over group allegiances Chapter 3 – The Social Self o Collectivism  Virtues of interdependence, cooperation, and social harmony  Person is loyal member of family and motivated to be part of a group  Individualism and collectivism mould our very self-conceptions and identities  North Americans and Europeans (personal self): o Self is an entity that is distinct, autonomous, self contained, and endowed with unique dispositions  Asia, Africa, Latin America (collective self) o Interdependent view of the self o Self is a part of a larger social network o Socially connected o Their self is dependent on their social network  People in individualistic cultures strive for personal achievement  Collectivist vultures derive more satisfaction from the status of a valued group  Cultural orientations can influence the way we perceive, evaluate, and present ourselves in relation to others  Positive self-image = happy, healthy, productive o Leads them to persist longer at difficult tasts o Maintain independence in face of peer pressure  Negative self-image = depressed, pessimistic, prone to failure o Self-defeating o Don’t trust their own positive self-appraisals Gender and Race differences?  No difference in self-esteem levels between boys and girls  Black children, adolescence and adults consistency score higher than their white counterparts Culture and Self-Esteem  People from individualist and collectivist cultures are similarly motivated to think highly of themselves  Differences stem from the fact that cultures influence how we seek to fulfill that need  Basic need for positive self-regard is universal  Specific drive toward self-enhancement is culturall
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