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Basic Concepts. William James (1890) I – self as knower, experiencer, present tense, story teller Vs. Me – self as known, experienced, past tense, story. Me – Self Concept. Components of Me: Physical – awareness of appearance Social – awareness of others’ perceptions

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Basic concepts
Basic Concepts

  • William James (1890)

    I – self as knower, experiencer, present tense, story teller


    Me – self as known, experienced, past tense, story

Me self concept
Me – Self Concept

Components of Me:

Physical – awareness of appearance

Social – awareness of others’ perceptions

Spiritual – awareness of qualities, attributes

Self schema

  • Organized set of constructs pertaining to ones self

    • Research emphasis is on processing information






No quiche




Personality and the self

Personality and the Self

Basic Issues and Processes

Self schema1
Self schema

  • Effects

    • Perceptions of others

      • Use central traits in perceiving others

    • Self memory

      • Recall schema-consistent behaviors

    • Depression

      • Enhanced memory negative self-relevant information

Self schema and depression
Self-schema and Depression

  • Derry & Kuiper –

  • Memory for depressed/neutral content

    Hospitalized Hospitalized Non-

    Depressed Non-depressed Depressed

    Depressed .41 .18 .08

    Neutral .10 .36 .43

    Cause or effect?

    Depressed biased or realistic?

Self esteem

Different from self-concept?

Evaluation of attributes multiplied by their importance.

Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale

Mean = 29.7; Quartiles = 27/35

Self esteem issues
Self Esteem Issues

  • Stable or Unstable?

    • Individual Differences – Narcissism

      • Implicit – Explicit self esteem divergence

    • Self complexity – More facets – more stable

      • high self-complexity can be a buffer for the effects of stress (stress-illness correlation smaller for high self-complexity)

Self esteem issues1
Self Esteem Issues

  • Does high self esteem have positive benefits?

    • California self esteem funding


High self esteem
High self esteem


Risky behaviors (drugs, etc.)?

High self esteem1
High self esteem

Interpersonal relations?

Job performance?

High self esteem2
High Self esteem

Subjective Well Being (Happiness)


Strong negative correlation

Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)

Median = 7. Mild: 15-20; Moderate: 21-32

SE – BDI correlation: r = -.5

Self esteem and depression
Self Esteem and Depression

Why SE – Depression relationship?

Self esteem as buffer

Adaptability of positive illusions (Taylor & Brown)

self-appraisals match the appraisals of others

fewer self-serving attributions for success or failures

Self esteem and depression1
Self-Esteem and Depression

  • Self-discrepancy theory (Higgins); relationship due to real-ideal discrepancy

  • Real Self

  • Ideal Self – who we would like to be (hopes, wishes, dreams)

  • Ought self – who we should be (duty, responsibility, obligation)

S elf discrepancy theory
Self-discrepancy theory

  • failure to live up to:

own - guilt



others - shame

own - disappointment



others - lack of pride

Self and culture
Self and Culture

  • Major Cultural Dimension (transmitted):

  • Individualism – Individuals’ goals have priority

  • Vs.

  • Collectivism – Groups’ goals have priority

Self and culture1
Self and Culture

  • Individualism = Independent self

  • Collectivism = interdependent self









Self and culture2
Self and Culture

  • Cultural Differences in Self Reflected in Language:

    • Independent/individualist:

      • 1st person singular pronoun

      • Non pro-drop (pronouns usually required)

      • Family name last

    • Interdependent/collectivist:

      • Pronouns marked for relationship

      • Pro-drop (pronouns optional)

      • Family name first

Self and culture3
Self and Culture

  • Selected Manifestations of Cultural Differences in Self:

    Imaging (Zhu et al.): MPFC activated for judgments of self/mother for Chinese

    Fundamental Attribution Error – Independent self focus on dispositions

    Locus of Control – Independent self and internal locus of control

Development of self me
Development of Self (Me)

  • How and When does Self-Concept Develop?

    • Awareness of Physical Self at 18-24 mos.

  • Development as Social Process (Mead)

    • Reciprocal Role-Taking

      • Imagine how perceived by others (social me)

        • Some feedback but misinterpretations possible

      • Generalized Other: Me = sense of how perceived by people in general

    • Self concept dependent on others

Development of self me1
Development of Self (Me)

  • Evidence for Self as Social Construct

    • Humans/chimps raised in isolation

    • Myamoto & Dornbush

      • Collect ratings of:

        • Beliefs about how perceived by specific others (e.g. other frat. members)

        • Beliefs about how perceived by people in general

        • How one is actually perceived by others (other frat. members)

        • Self ratings

Development of self me2
Development of Self (Me)

  • Evidence for Self as Social Construct

    • Mere presence (Morse & Gergen):

    • Male Ps apply for job

    • Complete application forms including self esteem measure

    • Another job applicant (confederate) enters

    • Mr. Clean:

      • self esteem drops

        Mr. Dirty:

      • self esteem increases

    • Social comparison and Instability

Development of self
Development of Self

  • Entirely Dependent on Others?

  • Strategies for Lessening Influence of Others:

    • Choose with whom to interact

      • Prefer self-consistent or positive feedback?

  • Choose with whom to compare

    • Downward social comparison

  • Behavioral Confirmation

    • Swan study:

      • Dominant and submissive Ps given contradictory feedback

      • Act to confirm self view

  • Self presentation
    Self Presentation

    • Ervin Goffman (self-presentation/impression management)

    • Act so as to convey desired image (Behavioral Confirmation)

    • Personality = performance (no internal traits)

      • “All the worlds a stage,

      • And all the men and women merely players”

    • Self influenced by others’ perceptions; but actively strive to influence others’ perceptions

    Goffman s theory of self presentation
    Goffman’s Theory of Self Presentation

    Everything we do carries identity implications (can be used in impression formation)

    • Choices regarding personal appearance, room appearance, consumer products, etc.

      • Gosling and Music choices:

        • Blues, jazz, classical and folk: "reflective and complex"

        • Heavy metal and alternative: "intense and rebellious“

        • rap/hip-hop, soul/funk: "energetic and rhythmic”

    • Cannot not communicate

    • Social media – Extreme self-presentation?

      • Image presented on Facebook real or ideal?

    Goffman s theory of self presentation1
    Goffman’s Theory of Self Presentation

    People take implications into account in order to convey a particular image

    • Habitual/automatic and Conscious/deliberate

    • Always self presenting? Exceptions?

    • Positive images only?

      • Braginsky, Braginsky, & Ring

        • Schizophrenia and self-presentation

          • Interview for release or backward