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Chapter 5: The Self : 

Social Psychology Spring 2009 Chapter 5: The Self

What is “The Self?” : 

What is “The Self?” A person’s definition of who you are Is the self an internal or external concept? Personality Theorists vs. Social Psychologists Our social identity appears early in life Includes personal attributes, and group attributes We have self-schemas. Self-Reference Effect We put a lot of effort into maintaining the consistency of our self concept Cognitive Dissonance!

Self Presentation : 

Self Presentation Why do we do it? Stigma consciousness

Factors affecting Identity : 

Factors affecting Identity The Situation Identity interference occurs when you’re in a situation where two aspects of your social identity could conflict. Culture Individualistic societies value an independent self-concept Collectivist societies value an interdependent self-concept Gender Differences Justice ethic vs Care ethic

Self-Knowledge: Two Tactics : 

Self-Knowledge: Two Tactics Introspection Why is it sometimes misleading? How can we get better at it? The Other’s Standpoint Why would this make a difference? What could this lead to?

Thinking about the Self : 

Thinking about the Self Autobiographical Memory What is it? How is it helpful? Future Possible Selves What are they? How are they helpful? Self Efficacy What is it? How is it helpful?

Personal vs Social Identity : 

Personal vs Social Identity Social Identity Theory Why would this be? (Think of evolutionary theory) At any given moment/situation, we are somewhere on the personal-versus-social identity continuum When describing our personal identity, we participate in Intragroup Comparison On the social end, we participate in Intergroup Comparison PERSONAL Intragroup Comparison SOCIAL Intergroup Comparison

Personal vs Social Identity: The Situation : 

Personal vs Social Identity: The Situation The context we are in determines which aspect of our identity will be the most salient. In different situations, different aspects of the self are more influential on our actions What about the situation determines how we will act?

Personal vs Social Identity: Other’s Treatment : 

Personal vs Social Identity: Other’s Treatment If we anticipate a characteristic will meet disapproval from others, we either: Embracing a characteristic that we expect will be discriminated against can cause to identify more strongly with others who share that characteristics Ex: visible tattoos and piercings Which method is better?

Gender and Identity : 

Gender and Identity Gender is a part of our identity. Learned through reinforcement, observations Efforts to decrease this? Difference between sex and gender Biological vs Social Which characteristics are male/female? Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI) Androgyny vs undifferentiated Gender role identification Extreme Gender role ID “Tomboys” vs “Sissies”

Self Control : 

Self Control Foregoing short term rewards and instead waiting for long term rewards. We are more successful at controlling the self when we have a high (or abstract) level of self-construal Abstract self construal (high) – why you want to complete a task Concrete self construal (low) – how you want to complete a task Self awareness Mirrors? (Diener, 1976) Being too self-aware ? Shyness

Self Esteem : 

Self Esteem Our attitude about the self; a self-evaluation Responsive to life events Techniques: Self-assessment Self-enhancement Self-verification Involves overestimating the positive aspects of ourselves

Self Esteem : 

Self Esteem How is it measured? Rosenburg self-esteem scale (next slide). How reliable is it? Subliminal classical conditioning (Dijksterhuis, 2004) Resilience Always in moderation If it’s too high…. If it’s too low… Gender differences Cultural differences

Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale : 

Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale I feel that I am a person of worth, at least on an equal basis with others. I feel that I have a number of good qualities. All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.* I am able to do things as well as most other people. I feel I do not have much to be proud of.* I take a positive attitude toward myself. On the whole, I am satisfied with myself. I wish I could have more respect for myself.* I certainly feel useless at times.* At times, I think I am no good at all.*

Social Comparison : 

Social Comparison Social Comparison Theory: why do we do it? Directional Model Downward social comparisons Upward social comparisons Consequences of social comparison Self-evaluation maintenance model Black Sheep Effect

Self-Serving Biases : 

Self-Serving Biases The Above-Average Effect Why do we do this? We resist accepting responsibility for negative events Cultural differences Unrealistic illusions The Planning Fallacy Benefits

The Self as a Target of Prejudice: Emotional Consequences : 

The Self as a Target of Prejudice: Emotional Consequences Sometimes we attribute our failures to prejudices to make ourselves feel better. “I got a bad grade on my paper because my professor hates freshmen.” But, if we do this too much, it can damage our self esteem “All professors hate freshmen” Only a helpful tactic if we write the prejudice off as a rare occurrence Otherwise, we start to view ourselves as members of an ostracized group.

The Self as a Target of Prejudice:Cognitive Consequences : 

The Self as a Target of Prejudice:Cognitive Consequences Can also interfere with our ability to learn new things If we fear we will experience prejudice against our identity, we might try to hide that identity This is distracting and exhausting Example: elderly in US vs China How can we combat this? By affirming other values we have

The Self as a Target of Prejudice: Behavioral Consequences : 

The Self as a Target of Prejudice: Behavioral Consequences Stereotype Threat Example: women in math Negative effects Ways to combat stereotype threat: Separate from the task or domain Distance yourself from the group Distance yourself from the one negative part of the stereotype associated with your group. **1st two methods can be problematic

The Big Ideas : 

The Big Ideas We try to make ourselves look good. We try to get to know ourselves. We act differently when we’re alone than when we’re in a social situation. We use others to judge ourselves. We have certain biases that help us maintain a positive outlook on our self and our life. There can be negative consequences if we think of our self as a victim of prejudice.

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