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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

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Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

CHAPTER 5: THE SELF - Self-concept: an organized collection of beliefs about the self that are developed from ones past experiences and these schemas are concerned with traits, abilities, values, goals, etc. - People have schemas about things that are important to them - Possible selves are ones perceptions about the kind of person one might be in the future o Develop from past experiences, current behaviour, and future expectation o Its been found that people with more possible selves adjust better after trauma o They could be positive and motivated like in career or negative as things to avoid - People are strongly motivated to maintain their self-concept over time with a tendency to preserve and defend it; it seems to be the most susceptible to change when people change their social setting from a place that is familiar to an unfamiliar place (e.g. moving away to college) Self-Discrepancies - According to Higgins people have several organized self-perceptions: o The actual self: qualities you believe that you actually posses o The ideal self: characteristics you would like to have o The ought self: traits you believe you should have - The ideal and ought selves serve as personal standards or self-guides that direct behaviour - Self-discrepancies are a mismatch of self-perceptions between the 3 above; can affect how one feels about themselves; self-esteem is affected by whether people meet their own standards o E.g. when the actual and ideal self are not matched, this triggers dejection-related emotionssadness, disappointment (Tiffany knows shes pretty but is also fat) o E.g. Actual/ought self-discrepancies produce agitation-related emotionsanxiety, guilt, irritability (not talking to your grandparents as much as you SHOULD) - There are 3 factors that affect how people manage these self-discrepancies: o The amount of discrepancy you experience o Your awareness of the discrepancy o And whether its important to you (e.g. English vs. Pre-med student getting a C in math) - Coping with self-discrepancies: o Work towards meeting your ideal self or bring it more in line with your abilities o Do NOT raise (or blunt) your self-awareness because then youll focus on shortcomings o STUDY: people who were high in self-awareness drank significantly more alcohol in a 15-min period if they believed that they did bad on an IQ test thus, they tried to use alcohol to blunt self-awareness to cope with self-discrepancies Factors shaping the Self-Concept - Social Comparison Theory: people compare themselves to others in order to assess their own abilities and opinions, and recently added is to improve abilities and maintain self- image - Reference Group: a set of people who are used as a gauge in making social comparisonsthese groups are picked strategically e.g. if you want to know how you did on a test you compare yourself to the rest of your class b/c you assume that they are similar to you o Upward social comparisons: motivate you and direct your future efforts o Downward social comparisons: self-esteem boosting by comparing yourself to worse people - Peoples observations about their own behaviour is not objective; tendency to distort reality in a positive directions (e.g. surveyed student 100% said they were smarter than average which is not possible) - Peoples self-concept is largely shaped by feedback they get from people that are important to them o Parents early in life o Michelangelo phenomenon: partners role in sculpting into reality the ideal self or a loved one - Self-concept is also shaped by cultural values; if a person meets cultural expectations they feel good - Cross-culture studies show differences in a specific dimension: o Individualism: involves putting personal goals ahead of group goals and defining ones identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group memberships o Collectivism: involves putting group goals ahead of personal goals and defining ones identity in terms of the group that one belongs to o STUDY: American and Indian students were told to pick a pen: 3 red and 1 blue were the choices. American always picked blue, and Indian always red. When they were GIVEN pens and asked to rate them, the American preferred the one they originally chose and the Indian had no preference this shows that Individualisticcultures promote freedom and choice, and people who live in these cultures dont like to have either threatened - Women and men are different; women tend to have RELATIONAL interdependence where theyre usually involved in intimate relationships involving friends and family, while men have COLLECTIVE interdependence where they tend to interact in social groups like clubs and sports teams Self-Esteem - Refers to ones overall assessment of their own self worth - self-concept confusion means that individuals with low self-esteem dont know themselves well enough to strongly endorse many personal attributes on self-esteem tests, which results in lower SE scores - SE can be construed in 2 ways: o Trait self-esteem the ongoing sense of confidence people possess regarding their abilities; constant o State self-esteemhow individuals feel about themselves at the moment; dynamic and changeable The Importance of Self-Esteem - Self-esteem and adjustment o Its strongly related to happiness o Sociometer Theory: suggests that SE is actually a subjective measure of ones
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