Madiha AnasDepartment of PsychologyBeaconhouse National University Meeting the Self
Self in History • Aristotle, Plato, Homer • Self = Soul • Descartes: “I think; therefore, I am.” • Self = Consciousness • Locke, Hume • Self = Sensory experience • Kant, Schopenhauer • Self as Knower • Self as Known
What is the Self? • Infancy: • one recognizes that one is a separate individual • Childhood: • one labels personal qualities and abilities • Adolescence: • the self becomes critically important as a basis for making life decisions • Middle & Late Adulthood: • the self continues to change, though generally not as extensively
Areas of Self • Self-concept • Self-esteem • Self-serving bias • Self-presentation • Self and the culture
SELF-CONCEPT The set of beliefs we hold about who we are.
The self-concept • The self-concept is the sum total of a person’s beliefs (i.e., cognitions) about their own personal attributes. • These beliefs can be about affect, behaviour, cognitions, motives, etc.
Sources of Self-Concept • Conceptions of the self vary greatly depending on the culture one lives in.
Emotions and Self-Concept • Those with an independent self frequently experience ego-focused emotions such as pride or frustration • Those with an interdependent self experience other-focused emotions such as amae • Japanese emotion • Amae: "to depend and presume upon another's love or bask in another's indulgence", a sweet feeling of dependency • Can you think of one such emotion from our culture?
Aspects of Self-Concept • Self-schemas describe the dimensions along which you think about yourself. • Self-schemas: • Guide behavior in relevant situations. • Aid memory for relevant information • Influence inferences, decisions, & judgments
Aspects of Self-Concept • Possible selves are conceptions of potential future selves. • represent hopes and fears for the future • help people focus and organize plans for pursuing goals.
Aspects of Self-Concept • Self-Discrepancies • Discrepancies between one’s actual self-concept and one’s hoped for ideal selves produce dejection-related emotions. • Discrepancies between the actual self and our ought selves produce rejection-related emotions. Dejection-type emotions Ideal Selves Actual Self Rejection-type emotions Ought selves Self-discrepancy
Self-Esteem The result of the self’s evaluations of the self-concept.
Self-esteem • Self-esteem is the evaluation we make of ourselves. • We have an overall sense of self-esteem as well as self-esteem in more specific domains. • Evaluations can be positive, negative, neutral, ambiguous. • We also have • implicit self-esteem • or less conscious self-esteem • explicit self-esteem • More conscious self-esteem
Self-Esteem • How we feel about ourselves • High self-esteem • Happier • Fewer interpersonal problems • Low self-esteem • Prone to psychological and physiological ailments • Problems with social relationships and underachievement
How self-esteem affects us • High self-esteem has all sorts of benefits. • Can you think of examples? • Conversely, low self-esteem predicts an altogether poorer life experience. • Think of examples.
High Self-Esteem • High self-esteem denotes thinking well of oneself • Can be formed in three levels: • 1. Healthy self-confidence • 2. Exaggerated sense of self • 3. Conceited, egotistical, arrogant sense of self
What is associated with high self-esteem? • Don’t worry about failure, rejection, humiliation as much • Have a clearer, more confident understanding of their identity (who am I?) • Less likely to change opinions and attitudes in the face of persuasion • Positive affect
Low Self-Esteem • Negative, unflattering view of the self • In practice very few people have “low” self-esteem • Some people indicate that they “sometimes” feel they have low self-esteem
What is associated with low self-esteem? • Take a more pessimistic approach in order to protect the self… • Worry more about failure, rejection, and humiliation • Not the same as fear of success—they still want to succeed • But will look for ways to avoid failures, rejections, and setbacks
Self-esteem:Questions to think about • Does someone else’s self-esteem have an effect on you? • If yes, how? • Is self-esteem something constant in all cases or does it fluctuate?
Self-serving Bias Tendency to attribute one’s success to internal causes, but attribute failures to external causes
Self-servingbias • Kingdon (1967) interviewed successful & unsuccessful American politicians about major factors in successes & failures. • Tended to attribute wins to internal factors (hard work, reputation) but failures to external (lack of money, national trends) • Actually involves 2 two biases – • 1.) Self-enhancing bias • (taking credit for success) • 2.) Self-protecting bias • (denying responsibility for failure)
Self-Presentation Self-presentation involves attempting to control the impressions we convey to others to obtain desired outcomes.
Self-Presentation • Public self-presentations can affect our private self-concepts. • To be successful in self-presentation, we need to be able to step into other people’s shoes.
Self-Presentation • People generally intend to make a good impression. They do this by • conforming to the norms of the situation • self-promotion • ingratiation or flattery
Self-Presentation • Self-promotion can be tricky, as one tries to avoid appearing egotistical. • Modesty is another tricky self-presentation strategy • it is most effective when the person has a success that is well-known to others.
Culture and the Self: A Note • The coverage of the self in this chapter has disproportionately emphasized the independent self. • Many of the processes discussed may take a different form or be nonexistent in cultures with an interdependent self.