Lecture 2 Sept 19 The Social Self

Lecture 2: Sept 19: The Social Self Defining The Self The mental apparatus that allows people to think _______________ about themselves "________-awareness" Unique to humans* Egocenter: "constant presence inside head" Problem: leads to _____________ ___________ Self-Concept The self-concept is a mental representation of one's attributes and other pieces of knowledge about the self Spontaneous Self-Concept Spontaneous self-concept is the collection of aspects of identity that are available to awareness at a given point in time E.g., Multiple Selves Current self compared with: 1. " Ideal " Self - who we aspire to be 2. " Ought " Self - who we think we should be (based on obligations) Great discrepancy = sad 3. Undesired self - who we do not wish to become Motivated to avoid How Is The Self-Concept Formed? 1. Looking Glass Self (Cooley): Self-concept is reflection of how others see us Problem #1: people don't always give honest feedback Problem #2: selective attention to feedback 2. Social comparison The process of judging ourselves relative to others to assess our own attitudes and abilities. 2. Social Comparison Types of social comparison:
Accuracy : compare to similar others E.g., i'm a better goalie compared to my friends, so i must be good Upward social comparison : comparing yourself to someone who is better than you are Helps motivate improvement (but only if improvement still possible) The Effect of 'Superstars' 1st-year and 4th-year accounting students Some Ps read about a "superstar" fourth-year accounting student Control: Others not exposed to the superstar All asked to rate themselves on traits related to career success 1st year: rated themselves highly - had more time to achieve Upward social comparisons helpful when still time for improvement 4th year: rated low - they hadn't done and were out of time 2. Social Comparison Types of social comparison: Upward social comparison Also can lead to anger / resentment (relative deprivation) when we feel we deserve better outcomes E.g., Downward social comparison involves comparing yourself to someone who's worse off than you are Usually makes you feel better about yourself E.g., I did poorly on a test,, but at least i didn't fail How Accurate is Self-Knowledge Introspection: the process of looking inward and examining one's thoughts, feelings, and motives
Problem: Often unaware of underlying reasons E.g., why do you like your fav song E.g., Wilson et al. (1982) Ps kept mood diaries for 5 weeks Ps often wrong about what factors predicted mood E.g., remembering little sleep when having bad mood, despite it being unrelated Cultural Differences in the Self Cultural Differences in Identity Triandis et al. (1990) Complete the statement "I am..." U.S.A. China Non-social completions 81% 48% Social completions 19% 52% Individualist Cultures: E.g., Canada, U.S.A., Western Europe people seen as independent beings who possess stable abilities, traits, and attitudes Need for individual distinctiveness: personal goals prioritized Collectivist Cultures: E.g., most East Asian (e.g., China, Japan), Central American and African countries Emphasizes connections between self and important others people seen as interdependent beings who should contribute to harmonious group functioning People in individualistic cultures view themselves as autonomous beings with control of their own lives
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