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,
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
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