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Chapter 7

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Sisi Tran

Chapter 7: Motivation MOTIVATIONS FOR SELF-ENHANCEMENT AND SELF-ESTEEM - Japan vs. Westerners  author taught in japan for 2 years and made a graduation speech (in English) congratulating grade 9 graduates (to highschool)  other teacher (Japanese) would translate it to the students students felt uncomfortable w/ translation of Author’s speech, so Japanese teacher changed it…  key difference: Author = motivating them in terms of telling them they did very well; Japanese = motivated them by telling them they didn’t do well in English, and that they’d have to try harder because it’s more difficult in high school (if telling them they’re good = how do you expect them to keep trying?) - Author’s approach has received much research attentionself-enhancement: motivation to view oneself positively  In studies conducted with North Americans = reveal need to view themselves positivelyevident across diverse array of methodologies o ask to evaluate themselves = vast majority = high self-esteem (93% above midpoint of scale) o see evidence of this in self-serving biases: tendencies for ppl to exaggerate how good they think they are 94% of American college profs said they’re above average (not all can be better, approx. 50% above and below)  we’re quite accurate about our standing when we encounter incontrovertible evidence (relative standing is clearly observable –height, calculus ability, or free-throw skills); in its absence = likely interpret evidence in most favorable ways  most striking evidence from studies that investigate what ppl sometimes do to secure positive evaluation of themselvesmotivated to secure this = often resourceful o downward social comparison: comparing your performance w/ performance of someone who is doing even worse than you o upward social comparison: compare our performance w/ someone who’s doing better than we are (many situations = rather painful) o compensatory self-enhancement: acknowledge poor grade you got, but you instead start to think about your excellent clarinet-playing skills (focus on and perhaps exaggerate how good you are unrelated to setback to compensate for pain of failure, recruiting other positive thoughts about yourself) o discounting your setback: reducing perceived importance of domain in which you performed poorly (“who cares about chemistry anyway? I’m not going to be a chemist.”) o external attribution: attribute cause of our actions to something outside ourselves (in contrast, internal attribution: locate cause w/in ourselves, like our abilities) o bask in the reflected glory of a successful group to which you belong: emphasize our connection to successfully performing others and feel better about ourselves by sharing in warm glow of others’ success (refer to university’s football team w/ pronoun “we” than “they” if team recently won or if individual done poorly on test) - vast majority of research conducted on this top involved WEIRD participants –question of whether more collectivistic backgrounds show similarly strong motivations to enhance themselves? (found independence and self-enhancement positively correlated)  Mexican-American vs. European-American preschool and elementary schoolchildren 8 photographs of others and themselveschoose photographs who possessed # of positive characteristics o Results: both chose themselves most of the time, but Euro-American chose themselves 92%, and Mex- American 82%  similar question w/ Native Americans vs. Euro-American university students: Native self-views listed less positive characteristics than Euro-American  some exceptions - evidence more striking when compare North Americans (NA) w/ East Asians (EA) use of self-serving biases less common among EA samples  differences sustained by ways ppl attend to and interpret events in the world (study: Japanese and American college students asked to list as many success or failures they hadJapanese tend to find failures more memorable, Americans find successes more memorable) - other alternatives to why East Asians appear to self-enhance less?  just as motivated as Westerners, but Western biases in our research methodologies prevent us from seeing theseEA more motivated to enhance group selves and comparisons of ppl’s individual self-enhancing tendencies don’t capture group self-enhancing motivations intriguing hypothesis but show Westerners have stronger motivations to enhance group selves as well o EA actually spread self-criticism to their groups (generalizing) endowment effect: tendency for ppl to value objects more once they own them, and endow them w/ their own positive qualities effect stronger in Western samples than EA  EA value diff set of traits from those explored in research thus far some evidence supports, but others reveal opposite patterns  Studies not measuring ppl’s “true” feelings but tapping into differences in cultural norms for describing oneself o Evidence: EA feel as good about themselves as Westerners on test of unconscious associations, anonymous situations and hidden behavioural evidence o EA like themselves as much, but when assess their competence = appear more self-critical = don’t have as strong desire to view themselves positively - why might these cultural difference in self-views emerge?  ppl learn self-enhancement motivations as they grow up in their culture (different opportunities) o Taiwanese: stories focused children’s attention on areas that needed correcting; no direct translation, but for most part viewed too much self-esteem = lead to frustration when things aren’t working out well for child o American: stories focused on children’s strengths; viewed self-esteem central to child’s development, positive quality, should be cultivated by parents; schools more likely make efforts to inculcate self-esteem in students than Taiwanese - how did parents and schools get this view in the first place?  emergence of motivation over time, look for indirect evidence = analysis of historical literature  many early protestant sects maintained belief in predestination: idea that before we were born, it had already been determined whether we were one of fortunate “elect” who would spend eternity in blessed heaven after our passing, or one of wretched many who were doomed to burn in hell forever o primary cue that we were part of the elect = he/she possessed absolute certainty about this fact = highly motivated to interpret events in their lives as signs God was viewing them favorably o spending eternity in heaven or hell = sufficient motivator to lead ppl to make great efforts to interpret their satiation in favorable light o BUT evidence of this motivation in many non-protestant nations - clear positive relation between independence/individualism and self-esteem –why might these two constructs go hand in hand?  as become more individualistic (“I’m all I’ve got”) = greater need to view oneself positively –cultural message: encourage to be self-sufficient and not to rely on others, difficult to achieve these goals if didn’t view oneself positively  evidence by looking at US: become more individualistic since 1960s & self-esteem been rising over same period (figure 7.1) MOTIVATIONS FOR FACE AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT - why motivations for positive self-views vary across cultures = consider diff kinds of positive views that person might desire - having positive self-view…  have high self-esteem –individual views themselves positively  have a good deal of “face”: amount of social value others give you if you live up to standards associated w/ your position (ex: higher social position = greater amount of face; special importance in collectivist societies like East Asia) 1. more easily lost than gained; difficult to enhance o how it’s lost = whether individuals fail to live up to standards of their roles = always vulnerable (others determine persons face = count on goodwill of others to maintain their face) o good strategy since easily lost: adopt cautious approach, ensure not acting in way might lead others to reject them prevention orientation: trying to avoid bad things (loss of face is one of bad things motivated to avoid; focus efforts on things they don’t do well) …VS promotion orientation: trying to secure good things (focus efforts on things they do well)  figure 7.2: Persistence after Success or Failure self-improvement motivation (strong in East Asian contexts): desire to seek out potential weaknesses and work on correcting them 2. involves concern w/ how others are viewing oneself face maintained only when others evaluate o face maintained only when others evaluate oneself positively o steps to ensure others think of them positively  take prevention orientation  present oneself to others in way that would enhance one’s face RELIGION AND ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION - Max Weber and controversial series of essays (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism) –recognized fundamental tenet of cultural psychology = human behaviour is necessarily interwoven w/ meaning; interpretation of what events mean = motivate us to respond accordingly - Interested in how radical doctrine of capitalism emerge out of traditional economies of medieval era economic determinism of Marxism (255); but in contrast viewed it as product of ppl’s deriving meaning from particular cultural contextproposed grew out of Protestant Reformation  idea that individuals able to communicate w/ God directly = individualized relation formed between each person and God argued central to blossoming of individualism  Martin Luther (founder of Protestantism) proposed each individual had a “calling” (each person has God-given purpose to fulfill during their moral existence) o God gives each unique skills and capabilities to fulfill their calling o daily labor given spiritual significance = view work as spiritual task  Predestination (God already determined (before born) who was going to heaven and going to hell o Brought “feeling of unprecedented inner loneliness” = motivated to escape by convincing they were one of privileged elect o Evidence for certainty lie in products of one’s efforts to fulfill one’s calling God wouldn’t reward those doomed to go to hell, so material success = evidence that you’re one of elect o Spend time on earth to serve your calling (not enjoy fruits of labor) = accumulated wealth reinvested to further one’s effort (accumulation of wealth for its own sake) - notion that predestination was key to Protestant sects that initially populated US may be surprising to many good Protestants today (no longer a belief) but Weber says it lasted long enough to convert more enduring secular code of behaviour that included honesty, hard work, seriousness, and thrifty use of money and time - many critiquing Weber’s ideas, but much evidence consistent w/ Weber’s thesis  culture-level variables (259): nations largely Protestant earned more than those mixed Protestant and Catholic  differences in psychological variables between Catholics and Protestants: most individualistic was Protestant (figure
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