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Chapter 3

Social Psychology (Cdn Ed) Sanderson & Safdar Chapter 3

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Ashley Waggoner Denton

Chapter 3: Self Perception and Self Presentation Describe findings from research in social psychology on how we see ourselves and present ourselves to others What Are the Self-Concept and Self Awareness? -self-concept: overall beliefs about your own attributes • William James says that self concept is one aspect of the self; can be referred to as the Known or the Me • Second aspect of the self is Self-Awareness, called the Knower or the I • Known is self-concept (your knowledge about who you are) and the knower is self-awareness (your act of thinking about yourself) • Individual sense of identity is created by combining these two aspects of the self -self-esteem: an individual’s evaluation of his own worth -Self-Awareness Theory: says that people notice self-discrepancies only when they focus on their own behavior • environmental cues or personality factors can lead ppl to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings and behavior --> this increases self-awareness • this leads to ppl to think about discrepancies b/w attitudes and behavior; if discrepancies are found, there are two options: (1) change behavior to match self-standards (2) reduce self-awareness and make no change to behavior -people who are self-aware are more likely to match their behavior to their own personal standards; e.g. Halloween trick or treaters took more than one piece of candy when there wasn't a mirror behind a bowl of candy -people who are looking at themselves in a mirror are less likely to use stereotypes and more likely to behave in a moral way Model of Self Awareness Theory No need to change behavior or attitudes Cues in the Look for self- Environment discrepancies State of Self between AwaCrenese behavior behavior and Personalitych self attitudes Dispositionrd Reduce self awareness and make no change to behavior Functions of Self 1. Self as Interpersonal Tool • we need to have relatively stable identity to have social life and relationships w/ others 2. Self as decision maker • We make large and small decisions to set priorities in life; these decisions reflect our goals and values 3. Self as Regulatory System • Self has to maintain itself despite individual’s diverse and sometimes contradictory goals Research Focus on Neuroscience: Different Parts of the Brain make Different Types of Decisions -in fMRI imaging, when participants made decisions about immediate reward (e.g. to receive $10 today), the part of the brain influenced by neural systems associated w/ emotions was activated -when participants made decisions about a delayed reward (e.g. receiving $5 in two weeks), the part of the brain involved in abstract reasoning and calculation was activated -also, research shows some have clearer sense of self than others: • Self-concept clarity: the extent to which knowledge about the self is clearly or consistently defined • ppl low in self concept clarity more likely to be neurotic, low self esteem & less likely to be aware of their internal states; also engage in chronic self analysis and rumination, involuntary negative form of self focus associated w threat and uncertainty How Personal Factors Influence the Self Concept Thinking about your Thoughts Hazards of Introspection -introspection is actually not a very effective way of gaining insight into our true attributes -people who analyze the reasons why they have a particular attitudes show a lower correlation between their attitudes and their behavior, meaning that their attitudes aren't very good at predicting their actual behavior, than those who don't engage in this type of self-reflection • e.g. in a study, participants were asked to choose a poster to take home as thank you gift; asked to base selection on reasons why they preferred a poster or "gut feeling"; students who had relied on gut feeling in making the choice reported feeling happier about the choice afterwards -sometimes feelings are better predictor of our true preferences Overestimation of the Impact of Events -Affective Forecasting: the process of predicting the impact of both positive and negative events on mood -people generally overestimate the impact that both positive and negative events will have on their mood • e.g. college students expect that they will experience negative feelings for a long time following break- up, but in reality students whose relationships end are just as happy later on as those whose relationships continue -we also tend to believe that major events will have a much longer lasting effect on our mood than they actually do (e.g. ppl believe they would be happier if they lived in California, b/c of warm climate, than the Midwest, but overall, ppl who in live in the Midwest are just as happy as ppl in California) Focusing on Self-Awareness The Problem of Self-Discrepancy -Self-discrepancy theory: says our self-concept is influenced by the gap b/w how we see ourselves (our actual self) and how we want to see ourselves (our ideal self) • ppl who perceive a large discrepancy feel less god about themselves than ppl who see a small discrepancy The Impact of Self-Awareness -other researchers say that ppl rarely think about such discrepancies and that the presence of discrepancies affect self-concepts only when a person is paying attention to it -Self-Awareness Theory: says that people notice self-discrepancies only when they focus on their own behavior The Limits of Self-Control -once we spent energy on controlling our thoughts and desires, we have difficulty doing so again • study participants were told not to eat for three hours came into room seeing either radishes or chocolate; asked to eat assigned food; then participants had to do a frustrating puzzle; participants in radish condition (had to exercise great willpower) gave up working on puzzle quicker than chocolate condition; to control for hunger, there was a no-food condition; they spent longest working on puzzles (shows that depleting mental energy might make self-control more difficult) • Also, experiments asked participants to solve various word stats (e.g. adding letters to “BU—“ to create word; some students had to do challenging mental task before completing word starts; higher % of students whose energy and attention were depleted completed word starts to make sexual words -trying to suppress thoughts can make the thoughts more salient • in a study, students were shown a picture of a "skinhead" and asked to describe his life; some were told to avoid using stereotypes; in later word recognition task, those who tried to suppress stereotypes recognized words related to the stereotype faster than non-suppressed condition. Escape From Self-Awareness -in some cases self-awareness, instead of causing people to match behavior to internal standards, leads ppl to escape from self-awareness and its discomfort -in study, students were given negative or positive feedback about IQ; students who were told they had low IQ score drank more in a subsequent wine tasting test than those with high feedback (this supports other findings showing that ppl often use alcohol to avoid thinking about themselves) Examining Your Behavior Self-Perception Theory -Self-Perception Theory: we look at our own behavior to determine our attitudes and beliefs -e.g. people who are led to believe that in the past they've supported a given policy tend to express positive attitudes toward that policy -this theory explains why asking ppl to perform a behavior can lead them to experience a change in self- concept -in a study, researchers asked ppl on the street for directions to nonexistent address; then these participants were approached by woman who asked if they could watch her bag for a few minutes; more participants who had been first asked directions agreed to watch the bag than the control condition: these people looked at their behavior of answering the address question and determined that they were helpful people Research Focus on Gender: Gender Differences in Self-Definition -when information is available about one’s ability on a specific task, men and women similar in estimating their ability but when information is missing, mend tend to estimate their abilities at higher level than women do • men overestimate their driving ability even when they’re aware of their risky behavior; women have more realistic estimate of their driving ability and even tend to underestimate their performance -men and women differ in self confidence about their ability on task: • if task is perceived as “masculine”, men reported more confidence in their abilities than women do; women showed lower confidence in their abilities if task was perceived as macsline than feminine • if task was perceived a feminine, men did not show higher confidence than women Facial Feedback Hypothesis -Facial Feedback Hypothesis says that changes in facial expression can lead to changes in emotion (e.g. people who hold their faces in a smile feel happier than those who maintain a frown) -people who sit slumped feel less pride than those who sit upright -people who nod while listening to persuasive message show more attitude change than those who shake their heads -could be explained by that facial expressions and body movements influence emotions by producing physiological changes in the brain Interpreting Your Motivation -people who work on a task for intrinsic reasons report greater task involvement, enjoyment, curiosity and interest; they also report greater psychological well-being -people who work on a task for extrinsic reasons report feeling concerned w/ recognition, competition, and tangible rewards or benefits; the pursuit of extrinsically focused goals like financial success can have negative consequences on overall life satisfaction and psychological well-being The Dangers of Over-justification -Over-justification: the phenomenon in which receiving external rewards for a given behavior can undermine the intrinsic motivation for engaging in the behavior -research shows that after being forced to volunteer, students become less interested in volunteering in the future than students who were given a choice about volunteering -in a study, children were told to draw; children who had received expected reward spent less time drawing during the next class period than those who did not expect or receive a reward and those who received unexpected reward • suggest that providing a reward in advance of doing an activity undermines intrinsic motivation, but that providing an unexpected reward has no impact on such motivation Business Connection: Does Giving Bonuses Enhance or Undermine Motivation? -research w/ both children and adults reveals that those who receive an expected reward (told that they will get to do a fun activity if they do three other activities first) are less creative than those who get no reward or unexpected reward -but research suggests that people who are paid for meeting a performance standard show greater enjoyment of the task and higher performance levels -providing extrinsic motivation for vague tasks (e.g. creativity) may therefore undermine interest and performance, yet such reward may improve performance on tasks for which clear, high standards are established * (ask?) Overcoming Overjustification -sometimes rewards can work well to stimulate interest in a given activity -one study shows that ppl who impose even more stringent deadlines on themselves for completing a task than are imposed by an external source show more task enjoyment than those who simply follow the externally imposed deadline (you can avoid dampening your intrinsic motivation to finish task by setting your own earlier timeline) ** ask How do Social Factors Influence the Self-Concept? -study showed that those who read about Marie Curie before completing knowledge test based on Trivial Pursuit performed worse than those who read about Pamela Anderson, because they saw their own knowledge differently depending on whether they were comparing to someone very smart or to someone not smart (relates to Social Comparison Theory) Social Comparison Theory -Social Comparison Theory: people evaluate their own abilities and attributes by comparing themselves to others -tendency to use social comparison more likely in situations of uncertainty, difficult to assess our ability in a purely objective way -explains why first-year college students who were academic stars in high school feel drop in self esteem when surrounded by students who were stars of their own high schools (“small fish in a big pond effect”) -Self Esteem: our evaluation of our own self-worth, meaning, and the extent to which we see ourselves as good and worthwhile -in a study, when students who showed up for job interview sat waiting in the waiting room beside impressive or less impressive applicant, self-esteem was higher if they sat in the room with the weak applicant than high. -this theory explains why we think about ourselves in different ways depending on the nature of the comparison: • in study, women who were dieters and were told they’d been outperformed in previous unrelated task chose healthier options in consumer research study than dieters who were not made to feel outperformed in previous task; this effect was insignificant among women who weren’t dieters • for dieters, competition by means of food choice can provide a means of restoring self regard when self esteem has been threatened in some other domain -comparisons seem to occur at automatic level: study participants viewed picture of baby or old woman at subliminal level (too quickly and below level of conscious awareness); participants who saw picture of baby rated themselves as older than did those who saw picture of old woman -we choose particular people to serve as relevant comparison models; but perhaps for ease we rely on readily avilable comparison; people often think about and compare to best friend (even when friend is very different) -comparison standards are particularly important when you are near the top of group (e.g. 2nd place likely use 3rd place to evaluate performance rather than someone from 42nd place) Media Connections: What Happens when Barbies Get Smaller and GI Joes Get Bigger? -Miss America Contestants have body weights 13-19% below expected weight for women of their height, which meets one of the criteria for diagnosing the eating disorder anorexia -women who are of normal weight often feel heavy: nearly half of women of avg weight are trying to lose weight -women who rate advertisements featuring female models feel more depressed, esp if they are already unsatisfied with their own appearance -12.3% women are underweight compared to 3.9% of men -GI Joe become more muscular over time (latest GI Joe has biceps that translate to larger than those of any bodybuilder in history) How Do People Maintain a Positive Self-Concept? -students see their own behavior as better than those of their peers; students estimate that more people are taking daily showers during California drought than there are in reality -false uniqueness effect: the tendency to underestimate the extent to which other people are likely to share our positive attitudes and behaviors (we see our own desirable behavior as less common) **ask: does this only apply for positive behavior? Self-Serving Biases -most college students remember their scores on standardized tests as higher than they actually are -participants first led to believe that either extraversion or introversion was good predictor of success; participants then received feedback about their own personalities; later asked to recall this feedback; those who thought extraversion was positive trait remembered the feedback related to extraversion more accurately than feedback related to introversion and vice versa Misremembering -we have tendency to remember things in a self-serving way that leads us to see change over time even when no change occurred -people doing poorly in class and get a tutor often report that scores have improved, and they attribute this improvement to tutor, but in reality students doing poor initially are likely to show improvement over time simple because extreme values tend to become less extreme over time -researchers collected data from dating couples on love, commitment and satisfaction at that moment and how they had changed over the last year (for four years) • couples reported that love, commitment and satisfaction had increased over time but there was no evidence from yearly reports that the features did in fact increase -people report increasing love for their spouse in marriages over time, when there is no such change when you look at actual relationship satisfaction ratings -misperception occurs b/c we ignore the statistical phenomenon of regression to the average: things that are initially at extreme (positive or negative) points are likely to become less extreme over time ** how does this relate ? (ask) Seeing our Views as Shared by Others -False Consensus Effect: the tendency to overestimate the extent to which other people share our opinions, attitudes and behaviors -people assume that anything they think or do, many others must also think or do; we usually surround ourselves with people who share our beliefs -study asked students to wear a cardboard sign that said "Eat at Joe's" around campus; 50% agreed; those who had agreed to wear the sign believed that majority of other students would also agree; those who refused thought the opposite -in a bogus test of "social sensitivity", participants told that th
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