Chapter Three: The Social Self

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Psychology & Brain Sciences
John Bickford

Social Psychology The Social Self: Chapter Three Social psychology starts with William James, penned the idea of the “social self.” 1. Individual self, person’s beliefs about his or her own personal traits, abilities, preferences, tastes and talents 2. Relational self, sense of oneself in specific relationships (doting husband vs. black sheep) 3. Collective self, person as a member of a group (American guy, Libertarian, etc.) Reflected self-appraisal, our beliefs about others appraisals of us  Parents praise accomplishments, teachers assign challenging tasks, peers laugh at jokes Working self-concept, is the idea that only a subset of a person’s vast pool of self- knowledge is brought to mind in any given context The social self is: Malleable, shifting from one context to another Stable, core components that persist across contexts Women are interdependent - family-oriented, enjoy groups and relationships Men are independent – power, self-oriented Social comparison theory (Festinger): when people have no objective standard they can use to evaluate their abilities, they do so largely by comparing themselves with others.  Downward self-comparison, comparing ourselves to those who may be “lesser” than us and being favorably better than them  Upward social comparison, when we want to improve on something we look at those who are better off than us Self-schema, cognitive structures, derived from the past, that represent a person’s beliefs and feelings about the self in particular domains. Self-reference effect: information about the self is more deeply integrated into our self-knowledge which makes it easier for us to remember it. Self-complexity: how complex a person’s self-knowledge is, measured by the number of and degree of overlap between different self-schemas.  High-complexity: student/athlete/big sister/Rihanna fan  Low-complexity: conscientious/studious/student Self-esteem: positive or negative overall evaluation people have of themselves.  Trait self-esteem, enduring level of self-regard across time  State self-esteem, dynamic, changeable self-evaluations that are experienced as momentary feelings about self Contingencies of self-esteem: self esteem is contingent on successes and failures in domains on which a person has based their self-worth Mark Leary’s sociometer hypothesis, self-esteem is nothing but a readout way of our likely standing with others.  Those who were put in work alone groups suf
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