Chapter 5: Self and Personality
Who am I?
- The nature of ourselves strongly influences the ways we perceive and
interact with our social worlds.
- We might appear highly similar across experiences in two diverse cultural
worlds and vary only in terms of the content of things that we would be
- Twenty-Statements Test: an experiment wherein participants complete the
statement “I am…” twenty times.
○ The most popular kinds of self-descriptions for Americans were
personal characteristics such as their traits, attitudes and abilities
(Canadians and British).
○ The statements made by a non-Westernized group reflected their
social identity such as their roles and memberships (Chinese,
Japanese, Indians and Puerto Ricans).
Independent V.S. Interdependent Views of Self
- Independent view of self: the self can be thought to derive its identity from
○ These reflect the essence of the individual in that they are the basis of
the individual’s identity and distinct from their relationships.
○ They are viewed as stable across situations and across the lifespan
and are perceived to be unique.
○ They are viewed as significant for regulating behaviour and individuals
feel an obligation to publicly advertise themselves in ways consistent
with these attributes.
- Interdependent view of self: the self can be viewed as a relational entity
that is fundamentally connected to and sustained by a number of
○ They consider their behaviours will affect others and they must
organize their own psychological experiences in response to what
others are apparently doing.
○ Individuals are not perceived as separate and distinct entities but as
participants in a larger social unit.
○ Their experience of identity is reflexive in that it is contingent on their
position relative to others and their relationships with those others.
- Our self-concepts organize the information that we have about ourselves,
they influence how we will appraise situations and they direct our
attention to information viewed to be relevant.
Individualism and Collectivism
- Individualistic cultures are more likely to elaborate on independent
aspects of themselves and they come to feel distinct from others and
emphasize the importance of being self-sufficient.
- Collectivistic cultures are more likely to attend to interdependent aspects of their self-concepts, such as their close relationships and group
- Although interdependent selves appear to be more common throughout
the world, most research in psychology has emerged in cultures where
independent selves predominate.
- People cannot be categorized so clearly into discrete categories; rather,
the experience of self appears to track a continuum (on average, people in
a culture are more individualistic or collectivistic).
○ Situations that highlight independent aspects of the self will be more
frequently encountered when participating in an individualistic culture
in which cultural practices emphasize personal goals over collective
○ Situations that facilitate interdependent aspects of the self are more
frequently encountered when individuals participate in collectivistic
○ All cultures are highly heterogeneous and contain a great variety of
Gender and Culture
- Women are apparently more interdependent than men only with respect
to their attention to others’ feelings and concerns; they do not appear to
be different on other factors associated with individualism/collectivism.
- On average, the male stereotypical traits were viewed as more admirable
than female ones.
- Across cultures, male stereotypes were perceived to be considerably more
active than female ones.
- In all cultures, male stereotypes were more associated with perceptions of
strength than female ones.
- Although there are some similarities in how men and women are
perceived across the world, there are marked differences in the equality of
the opportunities that men and women have.
- Countries in which a large percentage of the population practiced
Christianity were more likely to have egalitarian gender views whereas
countries with large percentage of Muslims were associated with more
traditional gender views.
- The more Northern countries express more egalitarian view and more
Southern countries express more traditional gender views.
- The more urbanized the country, the more likely people were to have
- Americans view male identity to be less changeable and thus more
○ (Do not find anything unusual for women to present themselves like
men but find it disturbing for men to play with dolls or men taking
- When females are viewed as more powerful, they also have more
essentialized identities whereas the reverse holds true where males are viewe