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Chapter 13

Chapter 13 Notes: Culture, Self, & Identity

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC14H3
Professor
Michelle Hilscher
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 13: Culture, Self, & Identity Self Concept => The cognitive representations of one's own self, that is, the ideas or images that one has about oneself and how and why one behaves. [cognitive generalization] • The self is a psychological construct that people create in order to help them understand themselves and their world better. The concept of the self is a product of human cultures. • Cultural Practices => Discrete, observable, objective, and behavioural aspects of human activities in which people engage related to culture. • Cultural Worldviews => Belief systems about one's culture. They are cognitive generalizations about how the culture is or should be (regardless of whether true or not). • Concept of the self is part of one's cultural worldviews because how one sees oneself in relation to the rest of the world is an integral part of one's culture. Individualistic construal of self:  Independent, separate entity with a composite construal of self more common in non-Western, collectivistic cultures in which the individual is viewed as inherently connected or interdependent with others,an inseparable from a social context. Independent construal of the self:  Individuals focus on personal, internal attributes – individual ability, intelligence, personality traits, goals or preferences – expressing them in public and verifying and confirming them in private through social comparison. No overlap between self and others. Interdependent construal of the self:  The self is unbounded, flexible, and contingent on context. Substantial overlap between self and relevant others. Most salient aspects of the self are defined in relationships. Emphasizes the fundamental connectedness of human beings. Independent Construal => One's internal attributes, abilities, or personality traits are the most salient in self-relevant information. Collectivistic Construal => Information concerning one's social roles and relationships with others are more salient and important. Americans => More abstract traits thanAsians. • EastAsians chose more majority pens than EuropeanAmericans [Airport survey study; pen as reward for answering questions; majority of pens one colour, while the minority were another colour] When studies compare scores againstAmericans andAsians, they often do not find that Americans are more individualistic and Japanese are more collectivistic. Over 70% of Japanese respondents (University) were classified as individualists. EuropeanAmericans were more individualistic than African Americans and not less collectivistic than Japanese or Koreans. FMRI studies have shown that in EA, the self is represented in a specific area of the brain (ventral medial prefrontal cortex) while significant others are represented elsewhere. [mixed results] • Priming Chinese individuals with Western cues increase neural differentiation between self and others, while priming with Chines Cues decreases differentiations. Methodological Issues => Most salient info forAsians is is context-specific. • Designed a study to include context when asking for reactions. Once the context was specified, Japanese respondents actually generated a greater number of abstract attributes than did theAmericans. • Americans qualified their descriptions. Specified that actions belonged to THAT context. Pen choice situation; 2 conditions => First person to pick a pen vs last person to pick a pen. American Japanese First - rates for choosing a unique pen dropped to Japanese levels Last - rates for choosing a unique pen increased to the level of Americans Argument: Incentive structures, rather than self construals influenced the unique pen choice. => Independent and interdependent self construals are not mutually exclusive dichotomies, but instead coexist simultaneously within individuals. Self contained individualism – Mainstream approaches (emphasize self development, autonomy, independence, identity) Ensembled individualism – Boundary between self and others is less sharply drawn, and others are part of oneself. • Evidence supports idea that cooperation, altruism, and reciprocation are aspects of self- development equally as important as autonomy and individual definition. Niedenthal & Beike: Proposed the existence of both interrelated and isolated self-concepts. This view focuses on the level of representation. => Some concepts drive their meaning through mental links to concepts of other people, whereas other concepts have an intrinsic or cognitively isolated characterization” − Interrelated dualities Triandis => 3 types of self; public, private, collective • The self that is manifested depends on the context. • These different self-construals exist in people of different cultures. • Thus, the notion that cultures are associated with a single sense of self, or even primarily with one sense of self, is not commensurate with the literature. Erroneous. Challenges to the Dichotomous view of Self: • Six dimension view of self construals (Harb, Smith) • Hardin => Multidimensional analysis (vs just two D). Six dimensions Self-esteem refers to the cognitive and affective evaluations we make about ourselves. Self- enhancement refers to the collection of psychological processes by which we bolster our self esteem.  Terror Management Theory: Humans are aware of their inevitable death, and are terrified of it. Thus, they create a psychological phenomena as a buffer against the terror of dying.  We fabricate and give meaning to our being in order to raise our human existence above nature so that meaning can be drawn from life. Provides us with the fortitude to carry on despite awareness of mortal fate. Self esteem, therefore, is “a culturally based construction that consists of viewing oneself as living up to specific contingencies of value.. that are derived from the culture at large, but are integrated into a unique individualized worldview by each person.” => Debate about whether self enhancement is universal or culture-specific. • Early studies suggested that collectivisticAsians engaged in self effacement. This is the tendency to downplay one's virtues. Others suggest that collectivisticAsians are more critical about themselves and are more attuned to negative than positive self evaluations (private and public settings). • Better than average effect => American adults typically consider themselves to be more intelligent and more attractive than average. Effect is stronger for males than females (US data). National Survey (US): 70% thought themselves to be above average, 0% below, and 60% thought they were in the top 10%. Survey (Japan): Claimed that 50% of students would be better than they are. These findings have been argued to support that self-enhancement leading to higher self esteem is a product of individualistic culture and does not exist in collectivistic cultures, or is lower. New Research: Self-enhancement occurs in all cultures, but just in different ways. • Could be the case that individualism fosters a certain type of self-esteem – one that is often measured in psych research – whereas c
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