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LECTURE 2 – THE SELF. January 10 th , 2008 PSYC 2120R 3.0 – Social Psychology http://silver.yorku.ca/2008w-hhpsyc2120r-03. "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main” John Donne, 17th century poet . Road Map. Knowing Ourselves

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lecture 2 the self
LECTURE 2 – THE SELF

January 10th, 2008

PSYC 2120R 3.0 – Social Psychology

http://silver.yorku.ca/2008w-hhpsyc2120r-03

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main” John Donne, 17th century poet

road map
Road Map
  • Knowing Ourselves
    • How we come to know ourselves
    • Self-control and self-efficacy
  • Feeling Good about Ourselves
    • Theories
    • Self-serving Biases
    • Self-Esteem
who am i
Who am I?
  • I am _________________________
  • I am _________________________
  • I am _________________________
  • I am _________________________
  • I am __________________________
who am i4
Who am I?
  • Self-Concept: the content of the self; our knowledge about who we are
  • Self-Awareness: the act of thinking about ourselves
  • Self-Schema: beliefs about the self that organize and guide the processing of self-relevant information

Duality of our self-perception

The “Known” or “Me” (self-concept)

and the “Knower” or “I” (self-awareness)

William James (1842-1910)

self concept
Self-Concept
  • Children – physical characteristics
    • “I have brown eyes”
  • Adults – psychological traits, characteristics, how others view us
self concept6
Self-Concept

People’s Self-Concepts Differ:

  • Independent versus Interdependent Selves
  • Possible Selves (Markus & Nurius, 1986)
    • The selves we wish or hope to be and the selves we fear becoming
  • Self-concept clarity (Campbell)
    • “My beliefs about myself often conflict with one another”
    • “In general I have a clear sense of who I am and what I am”
function of the self
Function of the Self

Three main functions

  • Managerial
    • Helps to define our relationship to the physical and social world
    • Helps us to engage in long-term planning
  • Organizational
    • Self-schemas
    • The information we notice, think about, and remember is organized around our self-view
  • Emotional
    • Helping to determine our emotional responses

AGAIN, ABCs: Managerial (B), Organizational (C), Emotional (A)

road map8
Road Map
  • Knowing Ourselves (self-concept)
    • How we come to know ourselves
    • Self-control and self-efficacy
  • Feeling Good about Ourselves
    • Theories
    • Self-serving Biases
    • Self-Esteem
knowing ourselves
Knowing ourselves

Two of several possible ways:

  • Introspection
  • Social Interaction
1 introspection
1. Introspection
  • The process whereby people look inward and examine their own thoughts, feelings, and motives

Problems

  • Don’t use it as often as you might think
  • Believed reasons for thoughts and feelings may be wrong

“Self-contemplation is a curse that makes an old confusion worse” Poetry by Roethke

introspection dating couples
Introspection: Dating Couples…
  • Wilson (1985): Distinct mental systems are used to control and explain our behaviours
  • How happy are you with your relationship?
    • Question predicted whether still dating months later
  • Analyze your feelings about your relationship and then rate how happy you are with it?
    • Did not predict whether still dating
  • Might have analyzed less important factors
introspection two factor theory of emotion
Introspection: Two-Factor Theory of Emotion
  • Schachter & Singer (1962)
    • Physiological arousal
    • Appropriate explanation
  • Gave an arousing pill (epinephrine) or non-arousing pill to participants (told for vision)
  • Given personal questionnaire that makes a confederate angry
  • Measured outrage at an intrusive questionnaire
  • When aroused, more outraged
2 social interaction
2. Social Interaction
  • Looking Glass Self (Cooley, 1902; Mead, 1934) - We see ourselves as a reflection of how others see us.
  • Social Comparison Theory

We learn about our own abilities and attitudes by comparing ourselves to other people

Social relationships help to define the self.

We have different “selves” that respond

to different social situations.

William James (1842-1910)

social interaction social comparison theory
Social Interaction: Social Comparison Theory
  • We compare ourselves with others who are similar on important attributes or dimensions (or anyone who is around…)
  • We compare ourselves to others when there is no objective standard
    • Downward Social Comparisons can make us feel better
    • Upward Social Comparisons can inspire us (sometimes…)
lockwood kunda 1997
Lockwood & Kunda (1997)

Superstars like me…

  • First- and final-year accounting students read about a final-year superstar accounting student
  • Provide “unrelated” self-ratings of ability
lockwood kunda 1999
Lockwood & Kunda (1999)
  • Thinking about their usual self or their “best” self
  • Read article about a more senior superstar
road map17
Road Map
  • Knowing Ourselves
    • How we come to know ourselves
    • Self-control and self-efficacy
  • Feeling Good about Ourselves
    • Theories
    • Self-serving Biases
    • Self-Esteem
self control
Self-Control
  • “the exertion of control over the self by the self”
    • An attempt to change the way he or she would otherwise think, feel, or behave
  • Baumeister’s: self-control resembles a muscle
self efficacy
Self-Efficacy

“a sense that one is competent and effective”

  • Believing that you are high in self-efficacy can lead you to persist when facing difficulties
  • Differs across domains
road map20
Road Map
  • Knowing Ourselves
    • How we come to know ourselves
    • Self-control and self-efficacy
  • Feeling Good about Ourselves
    • Theories
    • Self-serving Biases
    • Self-Esteem
what makes us happy
What makes us happy?

The recipe for happiness

  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/happiness_formula/
theories
Theories
  • Self-Discrepancy Theory
    • Higgins (1987)
  • Self-Completion Theory
    • Wicklund & Gollwitzer (1982)
  • Self-Evaluation Maintenance Theory
    • Tesser (1988)
  • Self-Verification
    • Swann
theories self discrepancy
Theories: Self-Discrepancy
  • We become distressed when our sense of who we truly are (actual self) is discrepant from our desired or expected self-conception (ideal or ought self; Higgins, 1987)
  • Actual to Ideal discrepancy can lead to depression-related emotions
  • Actual to Ought discrepancy can lead to anxiety-related emotions
  • Want to minimize the gap
    • Work harder
    • Dismiss personal responsibility
theories self completion
Theories: Self-Completion
  • When people experience a threat to a valued aspect of their self-concept, they are highly motivated to seek social recognition of that identity (Gollwitzer & Wicklund, 1985).
theories self evaluation maintenance sem
Theories: Self-Evaluation Maintenance (SEM)
  • One’s self-concept can be threatened by the behaviour of a close individual (Tesser, 1988)
    • Determined by (a) closeness of individual and (b) relevance of behaviour
theories sem continued
Theories: SEM continued
  • Study by Campbell, Fairey, and Fehr (1986)
    • Test 1: Both receive 6/12
    • Test 2: You receive 8/12; other receives 11/12
    • Which test do you prefer?
theories sem continued27
Theories: SEM continued
  • If not a self-relevant domain (i.e., great hockey player) – we can bask in the reflected glory of another.
  • If is a self-relevant domain (i.e., great cook) – we reduce the threat by:
    • Distancing from the person
    • Redefine task relevance
    • Become more skilled in the domain!
contrast self verification
Contrast: Self-Verification
  • Remember: two main needs
  • Verification of people's self-views (thoughts and feelings about the self).
  • 95 married couples (Swann et al., 1992)
  • Greater marital commitment when the spouse’s views matched their own
road map29
Road Map
  • Knowing Ourselves
    • How we come to know ourselves
    • Self-control and self-efficacy
  • Feeling Good about Ourselves
    • Theories
    • Self-serving Biases
    • Self-Esteem
self serving biases
Self-Serving Biases
  • Explaining positive and negative events
  • Better-than-average
  • Unrealistic Optimism
biases explaining positive and negative events differently
Biases: Explaining Positive and Negative Events Differently
  • Upcoming Test
    • If perform well, will make an internal, stable attribution (“I’m smart!”)
    • If perform poorly, will make an external, unstable attribution (“I was unlucky”)
  • Group performance
    • If succeed – you contributed more than others
    • If fail – you contributed less to the failure than others
biases better than average
Biases: Better-than-average
  • How many expect to do better than the class average on the next exam?
  • Subjective dimensions (“moral goodness”) trigger this tendency more than objective dimensions (“intelligence”).
  • Better-than-average attributes are considered more important.
biases unrealistic optimism
Biases: Unrealistic Optimism
  • How likely are you to: Get divorced? Get fired from your job? Draw a good salary? Develop a drinking problem? Die from lung cancer if you don’t stop smoking?

Upside:

Promotes self-efficacy, health, and well-being (but need a dash of realism)

Downside:

May not adequately prepare for the worst

road map34
Road Map
  • Knowing Ourselves
    • How we come to know ourselves
    • Self-control and self-efficacy
  • Feeling Good about Ourselves
    • Theories
    • Self-serving Biases
    • Self-Esteem
self esteem
Self-Esteem
  • Defined as: “a person’s overall self-evaluation or sense of self-worth”
self esteem37
Self-Esteem
  • Defined as: “a person’s overall self-evaluation or sense of self-worth”
  • Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale
    • Scoring: reverse the numbers for items 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 (1 becomes 4, 2 becomes 3, 3 becomes 2, 4 becomes 1)
    • Add all numbers for the 10 items
    • Scores range from 10 to 40 with higher scores reflecting higher self-esteem
    • 30-40 High SE; 10-20 Low SE
jordan spencer zanna hoshino browne correll 2003
Jordan, Spencer, Zanna, Hoshino-Browne, & Correll (2003)
  • Measured Explicit Self-Esteem (Rosenberg scale)
    • “the conscious and deliberately reasoned evaluations of self”
  • Measured Implicit Self-Esteem (IAT)
    • “highly efficient evaluations of self that occur unintentionally and outside of awareness”
    • Implicit Association Task
      • Reaction time measure – speed of associating self-words (my, myself) with positive words (holiday, warmth) as opposed to negative words (cockroach, vomit)
      • See https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/ to try one
iat 1 training 1
IAT 1 – Training 1

Pleasant Unpleasant

Happiness

L

R

iat 1 critical trial 1
IAT 1 – Critical Trial 1

Me It

Pleasant Unpleasant

It

L

R

iat 1 critical trial 2
IAT 1 – Critical Trial 2

It Me

Pleasant Unpleasant

It

L

R

jordan spencer zanna hoshino browne correll 200343
Jordan, Spencer, Zanna, Hoshino-Browne, & Correll (2003)
  • Measured Explicit Self-Esteem (Rosenberg scale)
  • Measured Implicit Self-Esteem (IAT)
  • Examined relationship with Narcissism
    • Grandiose self-views (potentially concealing unacknowledged self-doubt)
    • “I really like to be the center of attention”
    • “I like to look at myself in the mirror”
    • “I am more capable than other people”
jordan spencer zanna hoshino browne correll 200344
Jordan, Spencer, Zanna, Hoshino-Browne, & Correll (2003)
  • Participant with High Explicit SE but Low Implicit SE showed the highest levels of narcissism (defensive?)
  • Participants with High Explicit SE and High Implicit SE showed low levels of narcissism (secure)
  • Suggests we may need to re-conceptualize self-esteem
next class
Next Class
  • Social Cognition and Social Perception
  • Assigned Reading: Chapter 3
  • Reminder: Midterm 1 is on January 31st