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Ch 6 Summary

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Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Chapter 6- The Self Self-Concept  Self-concept is an organized collection of beliefs about the self  Shape social perception, are developed from past experience, and are concerned with one’s personality traits, abilities, physical features, values, goals, and social roles  Current thinking is that only a portion of the total self-concept operates at any one time- working self-concept  Possible selves are one’s conceptions about the kind of person one might become in the future  Possible selves are developed from past experiences, current behaviour, and future expectations  Possible selves are useful when encouraging constructive change during psychotherapy  Sometimes, however, possible selves are negative and fear what you might become- alcoholic, alone  People desire possible selves that enhance their self-esteem, self-perceived effectiveness, and sense of meaning or purpose, among other motives  Once the self-concept is established, the individual has a tendency to preserve and defend it  Self-concepts seem to be most susceptible to change when people shift from an important and familiar social setting to an unfamiliar one, such as college  Individuals have several organized self perceptions: an actual self (qualities you believe you actually possess), an ideal self (characteristics you would like to have), and an ought self (traits you believe you should possess)  Self-discrepancy consists of a mismatch between the self-perceptions that make up the actual, ideal, and ought self  When people live up to their personal standards (ideal or ought selves), they experience high self-esteem; when they don’t meet their own expectations, self-esteem suffers  One type of self-discrepancy occurs when the actual self is at odds with the ideal self. Such instances trigger dejection-related emotions (sadness, disappointment)  When self-discrepancies act as a form of negative self-evaluation, these perceptions can heighten a person’s risk for engaging in suicidal thinking  Actual/ought self discrepancies produce agitation-related emotions (irritability, anxiety, guilt)  Can result in anxiety-related psychological disorders  Three factors seem to be important: the amount of discrepancy you experience, your awareness of this discrepancy, and whether the discrepancy is actually important to you  Coping with discrepancies: o People can change their behaviour to bring it more in line with their ideal or ought selves o Bring your ideal self a bit more in line with your actual self o Blunt your self-awareness, or how much you focus on what you like or dislike about yourself (less positive approach)  Some people use alcohol to blunt self-awareness  When a person’s self-concept is threatened (a job interview doesn’t go well), the individual can recover by affirming competence in an unrelated domain  People can also affirm their self-identities by focusing on the important values they believe in  Social comparison theory proposes that individuals compare themselves with others in order to assess their abilities and opinions  Social comparisons can be ego enhancing  Engaging in social comparison can improve skills and maintain self-image  A reference group is a set of people who are used as a gauge in making social comparisons  Upward social comparison can motivate you and direct your future efforts  Downward social comparison can enable you to feel better about yourself  Most people tend to evaluate themselves in a more positive light than they really merit  N-Effect: when the number of recognized or known competitors increases, it appears to reduce the motivation to compete, a result of making particular social comparisons  Studies find a link between parents’ views of a child and the child’s self-concept  Even stronger evidence for a relationships between children’s perceptions of their parents’ attitudes toward them and their own self-views  Michelangelo phenomenon reflects the partner’s role in “sculpting” into reality the ideal self of a loved one  People filter feedback from others through their existing self-perceptions  Social context effects how people think and feel about others, as well, including the impressions they may knowingly convey to others in different situations  When individuals meet cultural expectations, they feel good about themselves and experience increases in self-esteem  Individualism involves putting personal goals ahead of group goals and defining one`s identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group memberships  Collectivism involves putting group goals ahead of personal goals and defining one`s identity in terms of the groups one belongs to  It is more accurate to say that certain cultures are more or less individualistic (or collectivist) than others rather than seeing them as either one or the other  Individualistic cultures promote freedom and choice, and people who live in these cultures do not like to have either threatened  Individuals reared in individualistic cultures usually have an independent view of the self, perceiving themselves as unique, self-contained, and distinct from others  Individuals reared in collectivist cultures typically have an interdependent view of the self. They see themselves as inextricably connected to others and believe that harmonious relationships with others are of utmost importance  Experiment: collectivist groups can recall more objects because they thought about the individual objects and how they related to one another  culture-as-situated-cognition  Women usually have more interdependent self-views than men  Women are usually involved in close relationships involving intimate friends and family members (relational interdependence), while men tend to interact in social groups such as clubs and sports teams (collective interdependence Self-Esteem  Self-esteem refers to one’s overall assessment of one’s worth as a person  “self-concept confusion” means that individuals with low self-esteem simply don’t know themselves well enough to strongly endorse many personal attributes on self-esteem tests, which results in lower self-esteem sores  Low self-esteem is found to be a consistent risk factors for depressive symptoms  Trait self-esteem refers to the ongoing sense of confidence people possess regarding their abilities (athletic, assertive) and characteristics (friendliness, helpfulness)  State self-esteem is dynamic and changeable, referring to how individuals feel about themselves in the moment  Those whose self-esteem fluctuates in response to daily experiences are highly sensitive to interactions and events that have potential relevance to their self-worth  There is a third way to construe self-esteem: as domain specific  When self-esteem is linked to a particular area of one’s life, it is best described as composed of one’s self-evaluations  Obtaining accurate measures of self-esteem is difficult (self-report could be bias)  Often quite difficult to separate cause from effect  Self-esteem is strongly and consistently related to happiness  High self-esteem has not been shown to be a reliable cause of good academic performance  Regarding job performance, the results are mixed  Sociometer theory suggests that self-esteem is actually a subjective measure of one’s interpersonal popularity and success  Individuals with high self-esteem persist longer in the face of failure  Individuals with low self-esteem often have negative expectations about their performance  Self-esteem can affect not only the present, but also the future  Narcissist’s aggression must be provoked; without provocation, they are no more likely to aggress than non-narcissists  Narcissists who experience ego threats have an elevated propensity to engage in aggression  Little empirical evidence that low self-esteem leads to either direct or indirect aggression  Authoritative parenting uses high emotional support and firm, but reasonable limits (high acceptance, high control)  Authoritarian parenting entails low emotional support with rigid limits (low acceptance, high control)  Permissive parenting uses high emotional support with few limits (high acceptance, low control)  Neglectful parenting involves low emotional support and few limits (low acceptance, low control)  Authoritative parenting is associated with the highest self-esteem scores  Once source of bias in affective forecasting is the impact bias, which occurs when people misjudge the eventual intensity and duration of their emotional response to some future event  Focalism- the tendency to overemphasize how much one will think about an event in the future while also understanding how other events will compete for one`s thoughts and feelings  Ethnicity and gender interact in complex ways in self-esteem  High individualism is associated with high self-esteem  The ethnic differences in self-esteem are likely rooted in how the different groups view themselves, based on cultural messages  Males scored higher on self-esteem than females  White girls have lower self-esteem than minority girls do Basic Principles of Self-Perception  The default mode of handling information: automatic processing  Controlled processing- spending precious cognitive resources o Mindfulness promotes cognitive flexibility, which in turn can lead to self- acceptance and well-being. o In contrast, mindlessness leads to rigid thinking where details and important distinctions are lost  Selective attention- when high priority is given to information pertaining to the self o The “cocktail party effect”- thinking you hear you name in a crowd  Self-attributions are inferences that people draw about the causes of their own behaviour  Internal or External o Internal attributions ascribe the causes of behaviour to personal dispositions, traits, abilities, and feelings o External attributions ascribe the causes of behav
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