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The Self, Identity, & Personality. Chapter 11. SELF. All the Characteristics of the Person Self-concept: everything the person believes to be true about him/herself Includes traits, preferences, social roles, values, beliefs, interests, self-categorization

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  • All the Characteristics of the Person
  • Self-concept: everything the person believes to be true about him/herself
  • Includes traits, preferences, social roles, values, beliefs, interests, self-categorization
  • Self-understanding develops throughout the lifespan
self awareness in infancy
Self-Awareness in Infancy
  • Dot-of-rouge experiment
  • Recognize selves in mirror at 15-18 months
  • 15-23 months
    • Personal pronoun use
    • Picture recognition
    • Self-referencing, ownership, self-monitoring
self in early childhood
Self in Early Childhood
  • Confusion of self, mind, and body
  • Concrete descriptions
  • Physical descriptions
  • Activities – what they do
  • Overestimation of abilities
self middle late childhood
Self – Middle & Late Childhood
  • Shift to internal traits and abilities
  • Social role descriptions
  • Real and ideal selves
  • More realistic about abilities
perspective taking
Perspective Taking
  • Opposite of egocentrism – the ability to assume another’s perspective
  • Children who are good at this are popular
  • Development progresses through stages (Selman)
self in adolescence
Self in Adolescence
  • Abstract-idealistic
  • Self-conscious/ preoccupied
  • Contradictions within self
  • Fluctuating picture across time/situations
  • Possible selves
  • Self-integrations as they get older
self in adulthood
Self in Adulthood
  • Self-awareness (emotional intelligence)
    • Accept own good and bad qualities
  • Possible selves become more realistic
  • Life review – evaluation of successes & failures; more likely as you get older
self esteem what is it
Self-Esteem: What is it?
  • Evaluative part of the self-concept
    • emotional
  • Difference between the real and ideal self
    • Have you realized your potential?
    • Do you value the trait, but have little potential?
    • Ideal self includes the “ought” and the “wish” selves
  • Measure of our sense of meaning in life
    • This includes purpose
    • Self-respect (Have you lived up to who you are?)
self esteem what is it1
Self-Esteem: What is it?
  • Influenced by the reactions of others
    • Generalized other, great ubiquitous “they”
  • People are susceptible to flattery
  • It is tougher to accept criticism
  • Basis for conformity
self esteem what is it2
Self-Esteem: What is it?
  • Self-serving bias
    • Overrate ourselves
    • Blame our failures
    • Claim our victories
    • As a rule, only depressed people truly have low self-esteem
the self esteem movement
The Self-Esteem Movement

Thank you to Dr. Tracey Zinn, on whose conference presentation this section is based.

the self esteem movement1
The Self-Esteem Movement

Propagated primarily in the educational system

Curricula aimed at increasing students’ self-esteem

Affects Everyone born after 1970…

Focus has been on increasing self-esteem that is not rooted in reality

Researchers now suggesting that students need to be able to identify their talents

The Psychology of Self-EsteemBranden (1969)

what was taught
What Was Taught

“Keep your head up, feel good about yourself”

but not“take responsibility for your work”.

Forsyth et al (2007)

“You can do anything!”

No use of the word “failure”

Everyone got all As in HS, doing little work

Unrealistic expectations of success

Students report being bored in class

what resulted attitudes
What Resulted: Attitudes

“Being happy is the most important thing”

We should always feel good about ourselves

Increase in narcissism (debated)

Don’t say “I’m a good soccer player” (Just say “I’m good.”)

what resulted attitudes1
What Resulted: Attitudes

Carol Dweck’s research

Effort is considered a sign of stupidity

When children are told that they are smart, they choose an easier task.

Panic when they are challenged or

think they are engaging in “a lot of effort”.

result confused parents
Result – Confused Parents

Encouraged delicate handling of children

Shielded them from negative emotions, criticism

Praised kids regardless of what they did

Carol Dweck’s research

Parents often think that helping their kids build self-esteem is done by shielding them from criticism and praising their talents

Protecting kids from hurt, failure, criticism, & disappointment has made them more vulnerable

what resulted behaviors
What Resulted - Behaviors
  • Thin skinned undergraduates, defensive when they miss questions or are challenged
        • Generation X Goes to College (Peter Sacks)
  • Students seem to be incapable of handling negative feedback.
  • New hires are asking for raises and promotions almost immediately after being hired.
  • When students with high SE are criticized
    • Unfriendly, rude, and uncooperative.
  • Entitlement regularly cited as an issue in college.
what failed to result
What Failed to Result

[High self-esteem] Isn’t associated with improved grades, career achievement, reduced alcohol usage, lower violent behavior, etc.

Baumeister and colleagues (2003)

what self esteem cannot do
What Self-esteem Cannot Do?
  • Improve school performance
  • Improve social relationships
  • Guarantee good leadership
  • Prevent risky behavior such as drinking
  • Promote health
  • It is defined in more than one way.
  • It may simply be a marker or indicator variable.
educational outcomes of the self esteem movement
Educational Outcomes of the Self-Esteem Movement

Susan Jacoby The Age of American Unreason

Are our students (people) hostile to knowledge?

Self-esteem movement = I’m the smartest kid!

“I’m supposed to be happy!”

backlash against self esteem
Backlash against Self-Esteem

John Hewitt’s

The Myth of Self-Esteem: Finding Happiness and Solving Problems in America

“Why do you feel good about yourself?”

“Because of self-esteem”

backlash against self esteem1
Backlash against Self-Esteem

Generation Me

Risk of depression & anxiety higher for young people today

“Our growing tendency to put the self first leads to unparalleled freedom, but it also creates an enormous amount of pressure on us to stand alone.”

are negative emotions normal
Are Negative Emotions Normal?

Against happiness: In praise of melancholy

Eric Wilson

Loss of sadness:How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder

Alan Horwitz & James Wakefield

The Medicalization of Society: On the Transformation of Human Conditions into Treatable Disorders Peter Conrad

correlates of self esteem
Correlates of Self-Esteem
  • More initiative
  • Happier, less depressed
    • As long as things are going well.
  • Related to physical appearance
  • Can become narcissistic
  • Fluctuates across the lifespan
self worth
  • Meaning
  • Purpose
  • Living up to your identity & your destiny
components of identity
Components of Identity
  • Career
  • Political views
  • Religious beliefs
  • Relationships
  • Ethnic identity
  • Personality
  • Body image
erikson identity vs identity confusion
EriksonIdentity vs. Identity Confusion
  • Identity crisis - exploration
  • Identity commitment
  • Problems:
    • Weak sense of trust
    • Little autonomy or initiative
    • Lack of industry
paths to identity
Paths to Identity
  • Identity diffusion
    • No crisis/ commitment
  • Identity foreclosure
    • Commitment/ no crisis
  • Identity moratorium
    • Crisis/ no commitment
  • Identity achievement (goal)
    • Commitment following crisis
erikson generativity vs stagnation
Erikson –Generativity vs. Stagnation
  • Self-absorption
  • Self-indulgence