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10 Feb 2011
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CHAPTER 5 THE PERSON IN THE SITUATION: SELF-CONCEPT, GENDER AND
DISPOSITIONS
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
behaviour
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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Document Summary

Chapter 5 the person in the situation: self-concept, gender and. 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: people"s judgments of their own worthiness. Self-concept refers to all information about the self in memory. Contains memories of one"s past behaviour, expectations for one"s future. Identify refers to characteristics that individuals think define them and make up their most important qualities. 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 behaviour. 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.

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