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The Self (pg 125-151).doc

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Elizabeth Page- Gould

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The Self (pg 125-151) October-02-09 4:37 PM The Nature of the Self • Self concept: the contents of the self; that is our knowledge about who we are. • Self awareness: the act of thinking about ourselves. o These two concepts combined create a coherent sense of identity o Self concept clarity has important cognitive and emotional implications Functions of the Self • Self schemas: mental structures that help organize our knowledge about ourselves. • Self-reference effect: the tendency for people to remember information better if they related it to themselves. • Integrating information with our self schemas helps us organize it better and connect it to other information about ourselves, which makes us more likely to remember it later. • When people are motivated to see themselves as possessing a desire quality or trait, they conduct a selective memory search for examples of past behaviours consistent with that trait. • The self also serves an executive function, regulating people's behaviour, choice, and plans for the future much like a CEO of a corporation. • Self regulatory resource model: the idea that people have a limited amount of energy to devote to self-control and that spending it on one task limits the amount that can be spent on another task. Cultural Difference in Defining the Self • Independent view of the self: defining oneself in terms of one's own internal thoughts, feelings, and actions and not in terms of the thoughts and feelings and actions of others. • Interdependent view of the self: defining oneself in terms of one's relationships to other people; recognizing that one's behaviour if often determined by the thoughts, feelings and actions of others. o Connectedness and interdependence between people is valued, whereas independence and uniqueness are frowned on. • Differences in the sense of self are so fundamental that it is difficult for people with independent selves to appreciate what it is like to have an interdependent self, and vice versa. Gender Differences in Defining the Self • Women's self concept reflect more relational interdependence, and they focus more on their close relationships (romantic partner, friend or child). • Men tend to define themselves in terms of social groups (sport teams)and this is known as collective interdependence. Knowing Ourselves through Introspection • Introspection: the process whereby people look inward and examine their own thoughts, feelings and motives. o People do not rely on this source of information as often as you might think o Even when people do introspect, the reasons for their feelings and behaviour can be hidden from conscious awareness. Focusing on the Self: Self-Awareness Theory • When we are focused on ourselves, 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 values. • Self awareness can have negative or positive effects. When self awareness feels aversive, those bad feelings can be alleviated in either a constructive or destructive manner. When it is positive, focusing on yourself can be quiet enjoyable because it highlights your positive accomplishments. Judging Why We Feel the Way we Do: Telling More than we can Know • Even though we often don't know why we feel a certain way, it seems we are always able to come up with an explanation. Richard Nisbett and Tim Wilson refer to this as "telling more than we know" because people's explanations of their feelings and behaviour often go beyond what they can reasonably know. • Causal theories: theories about what influences their feelings and behaviour, and often use these theories to help them explain why they feel the way they do. • Introspecting about our past actions and our current thoughts does not always yield the right answer about why we feel the way we do. Knowing Ourselves By Observing Our Own Behaviour • Self perception theory: argues that when our attitudes and feelings are uncertain or ambiguous, we infer these states by observing our behaviour and the situation in which it occurs. o We infer our inner feelings from our behaviour only when we are not sure how we feel. o Claims that people evaluate whether their behaviour really reflects how they feel or whether the situation they are in made them act that way. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation • Intrinsic motivation: the desire to engage in an activity because we enjoy it or find it interesting not because of external rewards or pressures. • Extrinsic motivation: the desire to engage in an activity because of external rewards or pressures, not because we enjoy the task or find it interesting. • The overjustification effect: the case whereby people view their behaviour as caused by compelling extrinsic reasons, making them underestimate the extent to which their behaviour was caused by intrinsic reasons. • Perserving intrinsic interest: o Task-contingent rewards: rewards that are given for performing a task, regardless of how well the task is done. o Performance -contingent rewards: rewards given that are based on how well we perform a task. • This type of reward is less likely to decrease interest in a task, and may even increase interest. Knowing Ourselves through Social Interaction • People are not solitary seekers of self-knowledge but social beings who often see themselves through the eyes of other people. Seeing ourselves through the eyes of others: The looking-glass self • Looking- class self: the idea that
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