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Chapter 5

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Kelley Robinson

Chapter 5: Self-Knowledge/Self-Esteem 26/10/2013 12:21:00 PM The Nature of the Self  The self is composed of one’s thoughts and beliefs about oneself (the “known” or “me”); the self is also the active processor of information (the “knower” or “I”) o The known aspect of the self is the self-concept (knowledge of who we are) o The knower aspect of the self is the self-awareness (act of thinking about ourselves)  Other species have a sense of self; study where animals were given a mirror, then had red dye put on their ear (chimps + dolphins recognized + touched the area)  Sense of self begins around age 2; as humans get older, their sense of self becomes more complex (instead of physical characteristics, they focus on traits/psychological states)  Sense of self varies per person -> low self-concept clarity = neuroticism, low self-esteem + self-analysis/rumination Functions of the Self  Self concept serves both an organizational and executive function Organizational Function of the Self  We have self-schemas; structures that help us organize info about ourselves + influence our behaviour, memory o i.e., A and B go see a movie and then play volleyball and then go to retirement home  A loves sports, so she will remember playing volleyball  B loves acting, so she will remember the movie  Self-schemas also influence how we see the world; i.e., meet an actor who also plays football -> A will remember his athletic achievements, when B will remember his role in movies  Self-reference effect -> study on people reading adjectives o One group think about how the adjectives describe themselves o One group think about how the adjectives describe someone else  Group who thought about themselves will remember more adjectives because they relate to themselves  Memory bias -> study on introvert/extrovert o One instance introvert = success o One instance extrovert = success  Think about behaviours relevant; people selectively remember behaviours that fit in with the “successful schema” -> desire to see ourselves in a positive light Self-Regulation: The Executive Function  The self regulates people’s behaviour, choices, and plans for the future -> what determines how successful we will be at exerting self-control? How does the self engage in self-regulation?  Self regulatory resource model: self-control is a limited resource (gets tired with frequent use, but rebounds with strength) -> spending on one task limits amount for the next task (like 10k run then trying to play basketball) o Study: participants told in one instance to suppress a thought (don’t think about the white bear) then not laugh at a comedy movie  Participants who were not given the first unrelated task did better at not laughing at the funny movie -> the other participants who had done one task first had depleted their self-control already o i.e., ex-smokers smoking again when under stress, or people on diets binging at night Cultural Differences in Defining the Self  In western cultures, people have independent views of the self o Defining oneself in terms of internal thoughts/feelings/actions  In collectivist cultures, people have interdependent views of the self o Defining oneself in terms of one’s relationships to other people + recognizing that one’s behaviour is often determined by thoughts/feelings/actions of others  i.e., high powered woman, 5 languages, married prince in Japan -> thoughts on the woman vary from independent to interdependent; subservient views by westerners, and loyalty + connectedness by collectivists  cultural differences in self-concept will increase with more contact from culture to culture  study: self-concept clarity scale given to Canadian and Japanese participants -> Canadians scored higher in self-concept clarity, and there was a more clear link between self-concept and self-esteem Gender Differences in Defining the Self  Truth to women gossip + men sport stereotype -> women are higher in relational interdependence (focus more on close relationships; partner, friend, child)  Study shows that women rate relational traits (warm, affectionate, loving) as more self-descriptive than men do  Studies show that in individualist cultures, women hold a more relational view of themselves than men, but in collectivist cultures, it is equal between men and women o Men are interdependent in individualist cultures, but it is collective interdependence (sport teams/social groups) Knowing Ourselves through Introspection  To construct a self-concept, we use introspection (thinking about ourselves) -> but we do this only 8% of the time, and the reasons for our feelings can be hidden from our conscious awareness Focusing on the Self: Self-Awareness Theory  When we are feeling self-aware (being watched/video taped/mirror) we feel transparent to others -> we feel that others have the same heightened access to our traits; this tendency pronounced in collectivist cultures  Self-awareness theory; when we focus our attention on ourselves, we compare our current behaviour to internal standards and values o This makes us self-conscious, and able to be objective judges of ourselves (i.e., want to quit smoking, see yourself in a store window smoking; you see the disparity between what you’re doing and what you want to do)  Study: participants told they either did well or poorly on an intelligence test -> those who were told they did poorly tried to escape the self-awareness by concentrating on a video playing in the room o Binge-eating, alcohol, suicide = ways of turning the internal spotlight away from oneself o People who take tests in front of mirrors are less likely to cheat o Religious or spiritual actions can also be outlets of self- awareness Judging Why We Feel the Way We Do: Telling More than We Can Know  We are aware of the final result of our thought process (i.e., in love), but we are unaware of the cognitive processing that led to the result  Even though we often don’t know why we feel a certain way, we come up with explanations -> we are telling more than we know o Study: students asked to keep a journal of their moods every day for 5 weeks, and also record variables that could affect their mood, such as weather, amount of sleep, etc  The students estimated at the end of the 5 weeks how much the variables had affected their moods -> most thought that lack of sleep = bad mood the next day (not true!) o Study: students asked to record their moods for 70 days, then later asked to remember moods  Students remembered more happy weekends and more blue Mondays; women remembered bad moods during periods, but actually they were especially happy!  Participants for both studies relied on their causal theories, theories about what influences their feelings and behaviour + explain why they feel the way they do  i.e., I’m in a bad mood – probably because I only slept for 4 hours last night” (but our schemas are not always right!!) o researchers trying to brainstorm about causal theory study; were not getting anywhere and thought it was due to the vacuum cleaner upstairs -> decided to test the study (if noise affected people’s judgments more than they thought)  study: watching film, one instance with construction noise, one without -> noise had no effect on film rating, BUT when asked if the noise had affected them, people said it made them lower their rating  study on pantyhose -> causal theories as to why people prefer the hose on the right hand side (identical hose) Knowing Ourselves By Observing Our Own Behaviour  Ex. Your friend asks you if you like classical music; you remember that recently you heard a symphony on the radio and liked it, so you say “I guess I like classical music” o You have used your observations of your own behaviour to judge your self-knowledge -> this is self-perception theory, where we infer ambiguous states of thoughts/feelings from observing our own behaviour  First, we infer inner feelings from our behaviour only when we are not sure how we feel  i.e., study on attitudes about environmental protection; participants asked questions about leaving lights on in rooms, etc.  those with unclear attitudes on the issue found that observing their past behaviour helped them to make a judgment -> positive recollections judged to be environmentally friendly, and negative recollections judged to be not environmentally friendly; no change for those with well-defined attitudes o self-perception theory also allows you to evaluate whether behaviour reflects how they feel or if it is situational; i.e., listening to classical music freely, or hearing it while roommate was playing it Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation  Playing piano because you love it -> intrinsic motivation  Playing piano to win a competition signed up for by your mother -> extrinsic  Intrinsic motivation is positively correlated with persistence + continuation of membership (swimming + skating), and positive learning outcomes (confident speaking of a language) o Relationships: those in relationships for their own sake, not internal rewards, are more likely to see problems as challenges, not hassles The Overjustification Effect  When people view their behaviour as caused by compelling extrinsic reasons and underestimate the extent to which their behaviour was caused by intrinsic reasons o i.e., you love playing the piano, and then your mother gives you money for practising -> used to be fun, now is work Preserving Intrinsic Interest  There are conditions under which the Overjustification effect does not apply -> intrinsic motivation is only lost if it was high to begin with; i.e., if a child does not like reading, it is OK to bribe them with pizza  The type of reward matters; task-contingent vs. performance contingent -> performance-contingent is more likely to increase interest because it conveys the message that you are good at the task Knowing Ourselves through Social Interaction  People have different selves in different social interact
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