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CH5 Textbook Notes

Course Code
Jennifer Fortune

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Self Concept and Identity
- dispositions are consistencies across time and settings in a specific type of feeling,
thought, and/or action, which make individuals different from other people
- self-esteem: peoples judgments of their own worthiness
Who Am I? The Self in Me
- self-concept refers to all information about the self in memory
- contains memories of ones past behaviour, expectations for ones future
- identify refers to characteristics that individuals think define them and make up their
most important qualities
Attitudes, Gender, and Dispositions
- attitudes and values e.g. conservative or liberal, religious or non-religious
- social comparison is a way that we evaluate and define ourselves
- with self-perception, we infer our attitudes and feelings from our own experiences and
Priming and Situational Distinctiveness
- spontaneous self-concept: aspects of identity that are in conscious awareness at a
given point in time
- changes in response to personal and situational factors
- accessibility of a particular feature of the self will depend on how recently it has
been activated
- McGuire and colleagues hypothesized that people are more aware of a specific
characteristic when it makes them distinctive from other people in the situation
- study involving interviewing school children shoed that they were much more
likely to mention their sex in a self-description when the opposite sex were the
majority at home
- study involving interviewing grade 6 students showed they were more likely to
mention characteristics of themselves that were relatively unusual
Is It Me or We?
Social Identity Theory
- proposed by Henri Tajfel hypothesizing that an important component of individuals
identity comes from their group membership
- assume that we maintain a positive group identity by judging our groups to be
superior to other groups
- minimal group paradigm: method in which participants are divided into groups based
on trivial features or information

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- research found that ingroup bias occurs even when groups are formed randomly
Optimal Distinctiveness Theory
- Tajfel hypothesized that people want to create a distinctive group identity; people want
their ingroup to be not only better, but different from other groups
- other theorists argue the optimal distinctiveness theory: people want to maintain a
balance between similarity to other people and individuality from other people
- too much similarity to others threatens our sense of uniqueness, too much
difference from others threatens our sense of belonging
Cultural Differences in Identity
Independent Versus Interdependent Selves
- individualist cultures, self is seen as independent from other people
- collectivist cultures, self is seen as interdependent with other people
Is It Me or We?
- Harry Triandis (1995) asked participants from several different cultures to give 20
completions to the statement I am…”
- social group completion e.g.: I am a daughter, I am a Roman Catholic
- non-social completions e.g.: I am a fast runner, I Like astronomy
- Illinois: 19% social group completions, Greece: 15% social group completions
- Hawaii: 28% social group completions, China: 52% social group completions
- people from collectivist cultures define themselves in terms of their relationships
to others more than people from individualist cultures
- Ross and colleagues asked bilingual Chinese Canadians to write a description of
themselves, some wrote in English, some wrote in Chinese
- participants who responded in Chinese included more references to groups, and
other people, and fewer to individual characteristics
- suggests that participants had separate identities stored in memory
Self-Esteem: Liking for the Self
- can be conceptualized as an attitude toward he self, a judgement that the self is worthy
or unworthy
- Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale
Sources of Self-Esteem
- personal experience
- people that experience many positive outcomes across varied situations are likely
to develop favourable beliefs about themselves and their personal worthiness
- of successful or unsuccessful social relationships
- academic achievements
- Mark Baldwin, Lisa Sinclair have shown that individuals with low self-esteem are more
likely to believe that other peoples liking for them depends on their performance
- thus they are very self-critical and anxious in performance settings
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