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Canada (158,052)
Psychology (9,545)
PSYC14H3 (214)
Sisi Tran (101)


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University of Toronto Scarborough
Sisi Tran

Ch6: self and personality Diff cultures have their own differences in coming to understand themselves. o Eg: in terms of athlete success, Japanese focused more on how their performance was guided by the expectations of others whereas Americans focused on their own personal characteristics Who am i? o Twenty-Statements Test is used to measure self-concept; tells us abt our identities in two ways – in a superficial way and on a deeper level o Superficial level- eg “I’m a Vancouver canucks fan” or “I am a devotee of jazz” – these statements are cultural products, you can’t have been a canucks fan if you haven’t lived in Vancouver o The culture is merely providing the content abt the ways we think abt ourselves o At the deeper level, our cultures on our self-descriptions are harder to detect. Eg: “I am creative” may sound like it’s a culturally influenced statement similar to superficial level but here– we are defining ourselves based on inner attributes abt the self that is 1) Abstract (consists of diff kinds of thoughts and behaviors across diff situations) 2) Stable (creativity stays in you, it doesn’t disappear after you go on a summer vacation) 3) can exist by itself (we do not need others around to be creative) o “I am a younger brother” – implicates a significant other in one’s self-concept; defines a role and the responsibilities expected from being a younger brother; emphasizes hierarchical relationship o ppl all over the world are able to think of themselves in terms of abstract attributes and concrete roles and relationships but to be able to view themselves in two separate ways varies significantly across cultures o results that studied the Kenyan and American culture using the Twenty-Statements Test showed that self descriptions for the Americans were mostly abt their personal characteristics, such as traits, attitudes and abilities (accounted for 48% of their self descriptions whereas Masai and Samburu accounted for 2%). Masai and Samburu reflected their social identity, their roles and memberships which accounted for 60% for their self descriptions and only 7% for the americans independent vs interdependent views of self independent view of the self:  self that is derived from inner attributes  these attributes are stable and unique  self-contained (perceived to arise from the individual and not from interactions with others)  significant factor for regulating behavior  individuals feel an obligation to publicly advertise themselves in ways consistent with these attributes [refer to fig 6.4 page 201 for a graphic view] According to Masai and Samburu, the self is connected and sustained by a number of significant relationships o when ppl consider how their behavior will affect others, individuals are perceived as participants in a larger social unit interdependent view of the self: [graphical representation on p 203, fig 6.5]  identitites are close connected with others and are not distinct or unique  relationships require ppl to take on roles (such as, father, student, friend etc) that govern how they feel and behave toward their relationship partners  relationships indicate the groups to which a person belongs and his/her identity can be experienced based on these group memberships  based on internal characteristics  depending on the situation, the role that a person occupies in that situation will vary accordingly  ingroup is relatively distinct and stable from the outgroup  the relationships established within the ingroup assume considerable importance – ppl don’t easily become ingroup members, close relationships do not form easily  therefore, interdependent selves consist of networks of individuals tied tgt by significant relationships, whose identities are grounded in these relationships and contrasted against outgroups results from an exp to study brain activation patterns in how well some trait adjectives characterized themselves or their mothers: o Westerners show diff regions of brain activation  distinct representation of themselves and their mothers o Chinese show activation patterns in the same brain region(medial prefrontal cortex) for the two tasks  representations of themselves and for their mothers are not distinct and both reflect on self-concept Self-concept is the only thing that differentiates our mind from being compared to a computer. Key functions of our self-concept: o Organizes the info that we have abt ourselves o Direct our attention to relevant info o Shape the concerns we have o Guide us in our choice of relationship partners o kinds of relationships that we maintain o how we interpret situations individualism and collectivism the two diff views of self that were described earlier are not randomly distributed across our planet but emerge in places where there are cultural practices that sustain them In individualistic cultures; o ppl elaborate on independence (having own bedrooms, working a summer job to financially support themselves, etc) o importance of being self-sufficient o US is the most individualistic country followed by other English speaking countries o Western cultures are more individualistic In collectivistic cultures; o where children co-sleep with their parents o where education is primarily decided on by families o where marriages are arranged by parents o ppl are more likely to attend to interdependent aspect of their self-concepts, such as their close relations and group memberships o Hawaii scored the highest collectivism state followed by Utah and states of the Confederate South o Asian cultures are more collectivistic A note on the heterogeneity of individuals and cultures - There are more than just two types of cultures that were described above (independent & interdependent) - Ppl can sometimes feel both independent or interdepend views of self; it varies - Whether an individual feels independent or interdependent, it depends on the situations they encounter on a daily basis. Eg: situations that highlight the independent aspects of self will be encountered with individualistic culture or interdependent aspects will often encounter collectivistic culture Gender and culture - researchers found that women  interdependent identities, men  independent identities - test that measured diff cultures in their level of dependence and interdependence used 4 factors 1) collectivism (“I am prepared to do things for my group anytime, even tho I have to sacrifice my own interest”) 2) agency (“I stick to my opinions even when others don’t support me”) 3) assertiveness (“I assert my opposition when I disagree strongly with the members of my group”) 4) relatedness (“I feel like doing sth for ppl in trouble bc I can almost feel their pains”) results showed: o Western cultures scored higher on agency and assertiveness where the Eastern cultures scored higher on collectivism and relatedness o Women scored higher than men in relatedness o No gender diff for collectivism, agency or assertiveness Suggests that it is not accurate to say women are like Asians and men are like Americans - women are apparently more interdependent than men only with respect to their attention to others’ feelings and concerns - no diff btwn men and women associated with individualism and collectivism Sex Role Ideology test used to investigate ppl’s attitudes toward how men and women should act, it used several items i.e. ; 1) traditional (“for the good of the fam, a wife should have sex with her husband whether she wants to or no”) 2) modern or egalitarian (“marriage should not interfere with a woman’s career any more than it does with a man’s”) results showed: o in the Netherlands, finland and Germany – men and women should be treated equally o in india, Pakistan, Nigeria – ppl blved that roles, obligations and rights of men and women are clearly diff (with men having more rights than women) o regardless of where the data were collected, within
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