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Chapter 5

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University of Toronto St. George
Dwayne Pare

CHAPTER 5: SELF AND IDENTITY  Who is the real me or who is the real you?  Twenty Statements Test: I am….(20 answers to who are you?) o median of 17 responses o first attributes people listed defined themselves in terms of social groups or categories to which they belonged  student, girl, husband, pre-med, from Chicago o later got into idiosyncratic trait terms like happy, bored, good wife  members of religious minorities were faster to identify themselves with a religion as part of their self concept than religious majorities or ppl without a religious affiliation  Our self concepts are defined by the social world: how we are similar to others and how we are unique compared to others – something we constantly do Self-Concept  20 answers reflect your self-concept: the set of ideas and inferences that you hold about yourself including your traits, social roles, schemas and relationships  We are hardly unbiased observers so it’s harder to know what the self is  We take center stage in our own lives  We are constantly growing and developing and revealing diff facets of ourselves in diff situations  Through social interactions we develop our self concepts and evaluation of ourselves How does the self-concept develop?  We aren’t born with a self, but we do develop one  We develop as sense of self out of physical development and cognitive maturation along with social experiences  1970s- thought humans were unique to be able to reflect on themselves o Self-awareness or self0consciousness (being aware of having an experience or reflecting on oneself) is evidence of having a self-concept Chimpanzees and self-recognition  Gallup placed a full length mirror in a room with a chimpanzee and observed how it responsed to mirror stimulation  1-2 days: chimps acted as if reflection were another chimp showing other-directed social responses o Bobbing, vocalizing and threatening like how a chimp would respond when confronting a strange chimp in the wild  Very soon chimps repsonsed to reflection in mirror with self0directed responses: grooming places they couldn’t normally see, picking food out of teet, making faces  10 days: chimps grew tired and adapted to presence of mirror  Mirror was removed, chimps were anesthetized, bright red paint placed across eyebrow ridge of one eye and on top half of the opposite ear o Paint was odorless and imperceptible to touch  Upon waking, chimps did not pay attention to newly marked areas  Mirror returned  Chimps spent 25% more time touching themselves and twice as much time touching their eyebrows than their ears  Chimps that didn’t have chance to adapt to mirror didn’t pay any more attention to marked areas of their bodies than to nonmarked areas o Self-recognition must have been learned during their earlier experience with the mirror  Self-directed behaviors in mirror test = evidence for self-recognition  No evidence exists in rhesus monkeys, capuchin, java, spider, mandrill, hamadryas, baboons, stumptail macaques or 2 species of gibbons  Self-recognition is more than visual recognition o Babboons could not be trained to recognize themselves even using raisins as rewards o Not related to mirror use as monkeys can use mirror as a toold to manipulate and find objects but unable to recognize their own reflections  Self-recognition found in elephants, dolphins, whales and magpies  Even chimps raised in wild show self-recognition not just lab ones  Chimps who are taken away from their mothers soon after birth and raised in isolation without contact with other chimps are unable to recognize themselves o Just sit and stare at their reflection in mirror, never becoming adapted to it o When anesthestized and marked with red paint they show no change in viewing time suggesting that they have no idea that it’s their own reflection in mirror  Lack of social experience with other chimps somehow prevented proper emotional development including self-recognition  Has chimps in a cage for 3 months and did mirror test, somewhat successful Who is that baby in the mirror  Self-recognition is one step along way to self concept development  O-1 : what is part of them and what isn’t o Some evidence to suggest infant recognizes his/her own cry versus another infant’s cry exists o Mostly physical self  4-5 months : look at the crying baby in the mirror trick to calm down the baby  When a spot of rouge is placed on infant’s nose by mother in guise of wiping his nose, infantsare able to recognize themselves in a mirror at 18 months of age  2-3 yrs: children can recognize themselves in mirror and pics and mastered language to use “I” “Me” “My” “Mine” “I’m” o Want to do things without parental help and refusing to cooperate o Know their sex, age, ethnic group and family and self-concepts reflect this info o See beginning of self-esteem: start to understand parent’ expectations for behavior and begin to internalize standards for good and bad behavior o Say they are a good girl/boy themselves or react positively when said by others to them  3-4: self-concepts reflect their developing skill and abilities plus physical attributes, preferences and possessions The Developing Self in School  5-12: further developing own abilities and becoming aware of abilities of other kids in school  5-6: compare themselves btw peers to see their own talents  3-4: recognize personality characteristics and can use them to describe other children  5-6: can describe comparisons “He’s the smart one” o Can use traits to judge past behavior and predict future behavior  9-10: recognize what a trait is and recognize traits as enduring qualities within a person that are stable across time and situations  5-12: develop a private sense of seld as they recognize that there are parts of themselves others cannot see o Have thoughts, feelings, desires uniquely their own and not automatically known by others  May appear as an imaginary freidn in younger yrs  Can keep secrets Adolescence and looking glass self  Self-concepts become more abstract incorporating motivations, beliefs and personality characteristics in contrast to more concrete descriptions of children’s self-concepts  15-16: sensitive to how they are perceived and judged by others = extreme self- consciousness  Objective self-awareness: experienced by adolescents as they see themselves as the object of others’ attentions o Use views of sifnigicant others as a social mirror to form basis of their own self- views (reflected appraisals) o Adolescents internalize others’ evaluations of them = looking glass self which forms basis of adolescent’s self-esteem  Each to each a looing-glass/reflects the other that doth pass  Teenage ended: respond to ourselves from point of view of a particular person but we also are able to respond to views of a number of others o Combine these views and internalize the view of the “generalized other”  Teens: wonder aout our place in society, question our identities (socially defined) o Includes definitions and standards imposed on us by others including interpersonal aspects (roles, relationships), potentialities (who we might become) and values (morals)  We have identities from birth, but not aware ofthem until teens  Wonder if our ascribed identity matches what we’ve developed and recognize as our own unique self-concept  Identity crisis in adolescence is inevitable, universal and normal o Not supported by current research o Only teens who openly question beliefs, values and goals of their parents may experience an identity crisis as they experience a deal of confusion and anxiety over who they are and who they wish to be  Either embrace these expectations or form their own identity that’s true to their self concepts and satisfies expectations of their social worlds  Other teens embrace their identity and don’t experience a crisis Our Grown-Up Selves  Adults have a good sense of who we are (self-concepts) and how we feel about ourselves (self-esteem) and can choose who we want to be or what aspects of ourselves we wish to present to others (social identity) o Mother, future doctor (social identities can be part of self-concept)  Self-concept comes from witin and identity comes from others o Some may not fully embrace their new identity as a college student and may struggle to balance their studies and expectations of parents and profs with their own desires or expectations of friends o Ppl may impose identities on us “black man” based on certain attributes without knowing who we are inside  Possible to integrate many identitions into oneself  Depending on culture we live in we may have an easier or harder time embracing our identity o ppl who are made aware of their membership in a stereotyped group may be unable to perform up to their potential as a result of stereotype threat: person experiences distress when faced with a stereotype that threatens his or her self esteem or social identity o apprehension causes P]\s performance to suffer which ends up confirming the very stereotype he or she felt threatened by  one need not believe th e stereotype or ascribe to it to feel upset by it  writing about things important to one can counteract the effect or humor by reinforcing their values Impact of culture on self-concepts  we devlop our selves – self-concepts, self-esteem and social identities by using social comparision with tohers, reflected appraisals of others and our own self0appraisls  self is product of social interaction and cognitive devlopments  who we are depends on culture we were born into  can categorize twenty statements tests into 4 and compare across cultures to see if there are differences in self-concepts across culture  Japanese and americans answers TST and categorized into 1 of the 4 categories:  Physical: physical qualities without implising social roles or group membership such as info you find on a driver’s license o I am a male, 18 yrs, short  Social: social roles, institutional memberships, socially defined status o Student, mother, jewish  Attributive: psychological and physiological states or traits o Warm person, high energy, introverted  Global: descriptions so comprehensive or so vague that they don’t distinguish that person from any other o Human being, light, me o 58% of American responses fell into Attributive self-description: own psychological attributes/traits o Japanese made less attributive self descriptions (19%) o Japanese refer to themselves in terms of their preferences, interests, wishes, aspirations, activities and habits more than personal traits  Described themselves in terms of social groups to which they belonged – Social self descriptions category less americans in this category  More likely to refer to physical self-descriptions than americans  Chinese more likely to describe themselves in social ways and americans attributive Individualism and Collectivism  Extent to which cultures emphasize individualism and collectivism affects how people define their very selves  Individualism: uniqueness of individual and distinguishes person as separate from group o People develop their own selves including attitudes and values as distinct from group’s o Value bravery, creativity, self-reliance  Collectivism: emphasis on views, needs and goals of group rather than of individual o Emphasize being part of a social group and sharing beliefs and customs o One’s beliefs, goals, attitudes and values reflect harmony, obedience to authority, equilibrium and proper action  Every culture has individualistic and collectivistic components like water and ice  80% of worls lives under collectivism (Africa, Asia, South America)  Japanese value wa: harmonious ebb and flow of interpersonal relations  Chinese value jen: ability to interact with others in a sincere, polite and decent fasion  Latinoes value simpatico: respect and share another’s feelings  Cultures may have developed to be more collectivistic or individualistic due to cultural complexity, ecology, mobility (social and geographic) and affluence  As cultures become more complex, norm is needed for behavior or ppl are forced to choose based on their own internal values and desires  Complexity increases as jobs increases forcing ppl to specialize rather than do what everybody else does and when ppl move from urban to rural settings o Together these trends push culture to individualism  Individualism increases when a country’s geography forces a separation among its people (mountains, islands) or when individuals have migrated to distand lands (great Britain)  Distance among members of a culture forces them to make individual choices fostering individualism in the cukture  Democracy born in ancient Greece b/c it’s geography of mountains and islands dispersed population forcing cities and individuals living in cities to develop their own governments and ways of doing things  Affluence – individuals are less dependent on group for survival and are free to cultivate their own interests  US: squeaky wheel gets the greese, think of the poor who have nothing to eat, ask guests what they’d like to have or give the choice  Japan: nail that stands out gets pounded down, think of farmer who made this vegetable how hard he worked, prepare food you anticipate guest will like Independent and Interdependent Selves  People think of themselves differently  Individualistic – ppl develop independent self  Collectivistic – ppl develop interdependent self Independent self  Apart from other ppl, autonomous and self-contained  Encouraged to embark on process of self-actualization and self discovery to develop their potential  Ppl are their truest selves when alone apart from influence of others  Northern european Interdependent self:  Includes others  Ppl cannot be understood when separated from their social group (fam, friends) they are not truly themselves without others  Does not mean person loses themselves to others or is passive when interacting with others  Southern european  Two views lead to differences in demands that society places on people in their respective cultures and role others take in our lives  Healthy Self-esteem depends on view of self and culture to which we belong  Well being and self esteem come from attaining culturally values outcome so neither individualism nor collectivism is better than the other  Ppl can define themselves as independent or interdependent regardless of their culture depending on the task o In countries with very strong ethnic or reglious identification, ppl may develop an interdependent self despite living in an individualistic culture  Early 1960s – Americans more likely to define themselves like Chinese and Japanese  Shift from collectivist to individualistic may be due to assassination of john f kennedy, civil rights movement, Vietnam war, women’ s right movement and Watergate scandal of president Richard Nixon o The Me Generation Possible Selves:  Hoped-for selves: successful self, creative self, rich self, thin self etc.  Feared selves: alone self, depressed self, incompetent self etc.  Images of possible selves help us choose our aspirations, maintain motivation and provide continuity in our self-concepts over time  Help us make sense out of our current experiences as they give us a context to evaluate and interpret events  Person with a feared self of being alone may react more negatively to a broken lunch date than someone else without this negative possible self Positive Possible Selves  Ideas for possible selves derive rom out past experiences set against the backgrop of out time, place and culture  Immediate social context has a bigger influence on our possible selves than demographics such as age, gender or socioeconomic status and we see how social experiences are making us who we are  Role models are powerful images for possible selves  33% of college students and 25% of adolescents mention physical appearance as part of their desired self  Oprah winfrey’s Live Your Best Life Study:  College students randomly assigned to imagine themselves as married with children as a home maker, provider or control condition (w.e role)  Rated how important certain characteristics were in their future mate  Women rated provider characteristics are more important than both women and men who imagined themselves as a future homemaker rated provider characteristics (status, ambition, career, salary) as more important than ppl in provider condition  Future provider:rated homemaker characteristics (good cook, good with children) as more of an important factor in a future mate  Suggests that our possible selves can even change what we think is attractive in a future mate  Gaymen and lesbians asked to imagine their best possible straight and gay/lesbian future selves  Rate how easily and vividly they imagined these selves and to what extent they were out to their fam, friends, coworkers  Questionnaire measuring psychological distress, regret, second thoughts about current gay/lesbian life and feelings of well being and satisfaction  The more salient a straight possible self was, the less life satiscation and more regrets a participant reported o Less likely to be out with others o Related to increased distress  More salient a gay/lesbian self was, greater life satisfaction, fewer regrets and more open o Lowered distress 2 yrs later Negative Possible Selves:  Feared  No history of crime with regular school, mild delinquency with alternative school or intervention program, moderate delinquency with special school or group home, severe delinquency with training school after other treatments failed  Black and white males and females  Asked to imagine possible selves over next year (expected – what is likely to be true next yr, hoped-for and feared selves)  Possible selves more likely to include criminal than haing a job or getting along well in school  Having a negative fearedself as part of selc-concept doesn’t set you up for failure  Holding a positive hoped-for or expected self to success is not necessary either  Those youths with a positive and negative selves lance committed fewer and less serious crimes than youths with more negative selves or more positive selves  For possible selves to have greates impact on motivation and lons term behavior change we need hoped-for and feared selves  Having a clear positive hoped for self helps us imagine what we can do to avoid negative feasred self and a negative feared self can help us be aware of what could happen if we don’t achieve our positive hoped-for self 9 week intervention to promo
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