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  1. Self-Concept

  2. Self Concept • Definition – overall thoughts & feelings about ourselves. • Fixed? • Importance? • “How you perceive yourself greatly affects the way you perceive your world…& behave in it.” • What is a self-fulfilling prophecy?

  3. Building our Self Concept (Continued) • “Who am I, really?” – Carl Rogers • Existential Angst – Victor Frankl • An onion – Tony Campolo • Thoughts & Actions

  4. Creating a Self Concept • Reflected Appraisal – evaluation (assumption) of how others see us. • Significant others (George Herbert Mead) are valued for their opinion. • Carl Rogers view of the phenomenal self • Definition: Your perceived reality. It is your ever changing world of experiences, both internal and external. • Self concept becomes filter for all experiences

  5. Reflected Appraisal • “I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.” - Elizabeth Barrett Browning • Mad About You

  6. Attention from Imitation • “I can tell you like it when I imitate you.” • “I love it when you laugh when I hold this finger like this and curse! You look so proud!”

  7. Self-Discrepancies • Individuals have the following self-perceptions: • An actual self (qualities people think they actually possess). • An ideal self (qualities people would like to have). • An ought self (qualities people think they should possess).

  8. The Development of Self-Esteem • More on the role of Parents – parenting styles. • Two dimensions of parenting are important • Parental acceptance. • Parental control. • Together, these dimensions yield four parenting styles (see Figure 6.11). • The authoritative style is associated with the highest self-esteem scores.

  9. Figure 6.11. Baumrind’s four parenting styles. Four parenting styles result from the interactions of parental acceptance and parental control, as theorized by Diana Baumrind. Adapted from Baumrind, D. (1971). Current patterns of parental authority [Monograph]. Developmental Psychology, 4(1, Part 2), 1-103. American Psychological Association. Adapted by permission of the author.

  10. The Development of Self-Esteem, continued • Other sources: • Teachers, classmates, and close friends • Those who feel competent, relative to others, have the highest self-esteem.

  11. Factors Shaping the Self-Concept • Festinger’s (1954) social comparison theory states that we compare ourselves with others in order to assess and/or improve our abilities. • A reference group. • If we want to improve, we choose reference groups of superior quality, but • If we want to bolster self-esteem, we choose inferior groups.

  12. Basic Principles of Self-Perception • Cognitive processes affect the ability to maintain a view of the self. • Two different types of processes are at work: • Automatic processing – default mode • Controlled processing – active thinking required for important decision-making and analysis. • MAKING THE AUTOMATIC CONTROLLED – MINDFULNESS • Awareness of Mental Distortions

  13. Basic Principles of Self-Perception, continued • Self-attributions – are “inferences that people draw about the causes of their own behavior”. • Three key dimensions of attributions: • Whether they are internal or external. • Internal attributions – “ascribe the causes of behavior to personal dispositions, traits, abilities, and feelings”. • External attributions – “ascribe behavior to situational demands”.

  14. Basic Principles of Self-Perception, continued Dimensions of attributions, continued • Whether they are stable or unstable. • Stable attributions – the cause of behavior is unlikely to change over time. • Unstable attributions – the cause of behavior is variable, or subject to change.

  15. Basic Principles of Self-Perception, continued Dimensions of attributions, continued • Whether they are controllable or uncontrollable. • This dimension simply considers whether or not the individual has any control over the behavior.

  16. Basic Principles of Self-Perception, continued • Explanatory style – refers to the “tendency to use similar causal attributions for a wide variety of events in one’s life”. • People who use an optimistic explanatory style attribute setbacks to external, unstable, and specific factors. • People who use a pessimistic explanatory style attribute setbacks to internal, stable, and global factors (see Figure 6.13).

  17. Figure 6.13. The effects of attributional style on expectations, emotions, and behavior. The pessimistic explanatory style is seen in the top row of boxes. This attributional style, which attributes setbacks to internal, stable and global causes, tends to result in an expectation of lack of control over future events, depressed feelings, and passive behavior. A more adaptive, optimistic attributional style is shown in the bottom row of boxes.

  18. Self-Regulation • Self-efficacy – “one’s belief about one’s ability “ • can be learned and changed. • increasing self-efficacy is beneficial to one’s physical and mental health.

  19. Self-Regulation, continued • Mastery experiences • Learning new skills increases self-efficacy. • Vicarious experiences • Persuasion and encouragement • Interpretation of emotional arousal • When we try new things, we may become nervous. • It is important to attribute this to normal arousal needed to do well, rather than fear.


  21. Basic Principles of Self-Perception, continued • Four motives guide self-understanding. • Self-assessment – desire for truthful information about oneself. • Self-verification – preference for feedback that matches our self-view. • Self-improvement – looking to successful others in order to improve ourselves. • Self-enhancement – desire to maintain positive feelings about oneself.

  22. Basic Principles of Self-Perception, continued • Methods of self-enhancement • Downward social comparison – a “defensive tendency to compare oneself with someone whose troubles are more serious than one’s own”. • Self-serving bias – “tendency to attribute one’s successes to personal factors and one’s failures to situational factors”.

  23. Basic Principles of Self-Perception, continued Methods of self-enhancement, continued • Basking in reflected glory – “tendency to enhance one’s image by publicly announcing one’s association with those who are successful”. • Self-handicapping – “tendency to sabotage one’s performance to provide an excuse for possible failure”.

  24. Humanist & Self Concept • 3 Primary needs in significant relationships • Genuineness • Empathy • Acceptance: Unconditional positive regard • These promote Self Actualization

  25. Maslow’s Need Heirarchy

  26. Sources of Self-Concept • Relationships • Conscious Choice • Behaviorist (Skinner) & Humanist (Rogers & Maslow) believe we consciously decide what information to incorporate. • Answering the BIG questions • Who am I, really? – Carl Rogers • Why am I here? Existential Angst – Victor Frankl • Who’s the real me? An onion – Tony Campolo

  27. Self Congruence • Are you 2,3,4…faced? • If so, when? • If so, is that a bad thing? • Selves: • Actual self • Ideal self • Ought selves • Possible selves

  28. Self-Esteem & Congruence • Self-Discrepancy – different views are inconsistent • Cognitive Dissonance • Discrepancy between actual & ideal = depression (hopeless) • Discrepancy between actual & ought = anxiety (guilt)

  29. Marcia’s 4 Statuses of Identity • Commitment & Crises • Identity Diffusion • No commitment or crises • Identity Foreclosure • No crises, inherited commitment • Identity Moratorium • Crises without commitment • Identity Achievement

  30. Sources of Self-Concept • Relationships • Conscious Choice • Unconscious Sources • Freud & Jung believed self concept was unconscious • Jung believed in innate personality traits. • The Myers-Briggs test is based on Jung’s trait descriptions and help you understand your innate tendencies.

  31. Protecting our Self-Concept • Self-consistency – perceiving experiences in a manner consistent with self-concept. • Cognitive Conservatism – we tend to manage new information so that it accords with what we already know or think we know. • Discounting positive or negative contradictions. • Even when a situation positively contradicts our self-concept we tend to minimize or deny its implications. • Self-concept = I’m bad at math • Result = Did good on test • Response = Teacher made a mistake or dumb luck.

  32. Protecting our Self Concept (cont.) • Self-serving bias (attributions) • Internalize positive • Externalize negative • Beneffectance (Greenwald) – our tendency to take credit for what proves good but not the responsibility for what proves bad. • Egocentrism – we tend to overestimate our influence in a situation or the extent to which we are the target of attention.

  33. Protecting our Self Concept (cont.) • Self-enhancement Theory – try to get positive feedback about our qualities. • Self-verification Theory – we want to be known and understood by others according to our firmly held beliefs and feelings about ourselves. • We act and communicate in ways to shape other’s evaluation of us.

  34. Protecting our Self Concept through Social Comparison • Comparison to similar others • may distort and deny the similarities. • Deny similarities with people who have problems due to similar behavior (AIDS). • Comparison to less adequate to feel better

  35. Ego Defense Mechanisms • Rationalization - Creating false but plausible excuses to justify unacceptable behavior. • Identification - Bolstering self-esteem by forming an imaginary or real alliance with some person or group.

  36. Ego Defense Mechanisms • Displacement - Diverting emotional feelings (usually anger) from their original source to a substitute target. • Regression - A reversion to immature patterns of behavior.

  37. Ego Defense Mechanisms • Repression - Keeping distressing thoughts and feelings buried in the unconscious. • Projection - Attributing one’s own thoughts, feelings, or motives to another.

  38. Treating the Diminished Self • Identify causes of low self-esteem • Identify domains of competency • Demonstrate achievement • Actively cope with challenge • Promote social support & approval

  39. Self-Esteem Can Fluctuate • Mr. Clean & Mr. Dirty Study (Gergen, 1970) • Dress for success • Self-esteem can change with comparisons • Self-esteem can very smaller amounts depending on strength

  40. Self-Esteem & Parenting • High esteem parenting • very accepting • express affection • set firm but reasonable rules. • Low esteem parenting • either overly strict, overly permissive, or inconsistent. • Dweck (1999) praise children for their efforts rather than intelligence increases children’s desire for more challenges.

  41. Minority Identity Development • Preencounter • Eurocentrism • Encounter • I’ll never fit • Immersion/Emersion • Ethnic Pride • Guilt • Internalization/Commitment • Incorporation without reactionism

  42. Self-Esteem: The Good & Bad • •