Social Self


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Overview the purpose and adaptive/evolutionary function of the "self".

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  • Image source: (Public domain) 29 July, 2008, 11:30-13:30, 2B11 7125-6666 Social Psychology / G Centre for Applied Psyhology Faculty of Health University of Canberra Bruce, ACT 2601, Australia ph: +61 2 6201 2536 [email_address] The aim of this lecture is to provide an overview of social aspects and functions of the human self.
  • Social Self

    1. 1. Social Psychology <ul><ul><li>Lecture 2, Week 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Social Self </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Semester 2, 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lecturer: James Neill </li></ul></ul>
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>What is the “self”? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the “social self”? </li></ul><ul><li>Self-constructs </li></ul><ul><li>Evolutionary functions </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptational functions </li></ul><ul><li>Self-complexity </li></ul><ul><li>Social comparison </li></ul><ul><li>Social feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic self-presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Self-monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>Self-regulation </li></ul>
    3. 3. What is the self?
    4. 5. What is “self”? <ul><li>Describe yourself e.g., </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I am…” statements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do I promote? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do I defend? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Usually includes social roles e.g., </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender, ethnicity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social identity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group memberships </li></ul></ul>
    5. 7. Note: Fuzzy boundaries Self Groups Culture Environ-ment
    6. 8. What is the “self”? <ul><li>Many, varied theories about the purpose and function of the ‘self’ – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g., in arts, philosophy, science, culture, religion, and through history. </li></ul></ul>
    7. 9. What is the “self”? <ul><li>Psychologically... </li></ul><ul><li>collection of cognitively-held beliefs that a person possesses about themselves. </li></ul>
    8. 10. What is the “self”? <ul><li>However… </li></ul><ul><li>“ Self” seems to extend beyond the physical self (body), to include psychologically meaningful personal possessions and personal space. </li></ul>
    9. 11. What kinds of impressions are these people trying to make, using their clothing?
    10. 12. What is the “self”? <ul><li>“ The self is an important tool with which the human organism makes its way through human society and thereby manages to satisfy its needs.” </li></ul>
    11. 13. What is the “self”? <ul><li>Traditionally, “self” was seen as representing stable, genetically determined “character” – or later, “personality”. </li></ul>
    12. 14. What is the “self”? <ul><li>More recently, “self” was understood to evolve during a lifetime, </li></ul><ul><li>i.e. </li></ul><ul><li>Partly stable, partly changing. </li></ul>
    13. 15. What is the “self”? <ul><li>Most recently, “self” has been further complexified and increasingly seen as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dynamic & changeable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple / Plural </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hierarchical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Situationally & cognitively influenced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Culturally constructed </li></ul></ul>
    14. 16. What is the “self”? <ul><li>The psychological self includes: </li></ul><ul><li>Attitudes </li></ul><ul><li>Cognitions </li></ul><ul><li>Emotions </li></ul><ul><li>Group Memberships (Social Identity) </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal / Imagined Selves </li></ul><ul><li>Memories </li></ul><ul><li>Possessions </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Images </li></ul><ul><li>Social Roles </li></ul>
    15. 17. What is the “self”? <ul><li>To determine “What is self”, use diagnostic clues: </li></ul><ul><li>Who am I? </li></ul><ul><li>What are you prepared to defend? </li></ul>
    16. 18. Fluctuating Image(s) of Self <ul><li>Phenomenal self (Working self-concept) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unusual aspects about you become prominent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Being lone member of some category </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Heightens self-awareness </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can impair performance </li></ul></ul></ul>
    17. 19. Which ones are most aware of their own race?
    18. 20. What is the “social self”? <ul><li>Humans are gregarious, group-based creatures. </li></ul><ul><li>A significant portion of our ‘self’ and its ‘behaviour’ is socially directed and influenced. </li></ul>
    19. 21. What is the “social self”? <ul><li>Some argue that ‘self’ is entirely a function of the environment. e.g., “Self” as a construct of post-industrial, capitalist society and political systems which promote self-identity and choice-making, and then markets to the “self”. </li></ul>
    20. 22. What is the “social self”? <ul><li>Interpersonal self or s ocial self part of self that engages face-to-face, in relation with others. </li></ul><ul><li>Social roles -> Social identity or Societal self can include ethnicity, gender, age, place of residence or any other social categorization that helps characterize a person’s identity. </li></ul>
    21. 23. Purpose of the self <ul><li>Gain social acceptance </li></ul><ul><li>Play social roles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Society creates and defines roles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual seeks and adopts them </li></ul></ul>
    22. 24. Self-Constructs (Operationalization) Self-Esteem Self-Concept Self-Efficacy Self-Congruence illustrate how social psychologists study people’s selves, in cognitive, affective, and behavioral terms.
    23. 25. Self-esteem <ul><li>Global feelings of self-worth </li></ul><ul><li>Value placed in & degree of liking of self. </li></ul><ul><li>Often based on and closely related to social comparisons. (e.g., too thin, too fat) </li></ul><ul><li>People are motivated to see their self as worthy/worthwhile (Fiske, 2004). </li></ul>
    24. 26. Self-esteem <ul><li>High Self-Esteem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive views </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Low Self-Esteem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Absence of strong positive views </li></ul></ul>
    25. 27. Self-esteem <ul><li>Healthy to have a slightly inflated sense of self value (Taylor). </li></ul><ul><li>Self-esteem serves as a sociometer for one’s standing in a group (Fiske, 2004). </li></ul><ul><li>Self-esteem has been overemphasized in Western society, to the detriment of actual skill (Baumeister) </li></ul>
    26. 28. Basking and blasting <ul><li>Group membership may enhance positive feelings about self (Cialdini, 1976) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Basking - Linking oneself to winners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blasting - Criticizing a rival group </li></ul></ul><ul><li>People show a stronger tendency to blast (negative) than bask (positive) </li></ul>
    27. 29. Basking and blasting <ul><li>Loyal fans experience changes in their own confidence level based on the success or failure of their team </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Losing had a stronger effect than winning </li></ul></ul>
    28. 30. Low self-esteem <ul><li>Research on low self-esteem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not want to fail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-concept confusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on self-protection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More prone to emotional highs and lows </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Myth of low-self esteem in United States </li></ul>
    29. 31. Distorted perceptions of nondepressed <ul><li>Positive illusions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Overestimate good qualities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Underestimate faults </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overestimate control over events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unrealistically optimistic </li></ul></ul>
    30. 32. Self-deception strategies <ul><li>Self Serving Bias </li></ul><ul><li>More skeptical of bad feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Junk Mail Theory of Self-Deception </li></ul><ul><li>Comparisons with those slightly worse </li></ul><ul><li>Skew impressions of others to highlight own good traits as unusual </li></ul>
    31. 33. Benefits of high self-esteem <ul><li>Initiative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Confidence you can do the right thing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More adventurous in activities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Feels good </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Helps one to overcome bad feelings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If they fail, more likely to try again </li></ul></ul>
    32. 34. Why do we care about self-esteem? <ul><li>Sociometer theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-esteem is a measure of social acceptability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Self-esteem feels good </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory of terror management </li></ul></ul>
    33. 35. Negative aspects of high self-esteem <ul><li>Narcissism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subset of high self-esteem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tend to be more aggressive and violent </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Higher prejudice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tend to think their group is better </li></ul></ul>
    34. 36. Pursuit of self-esteem <ul><li>May have harmful consequences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can compromise pursuit of competence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impairs autonomy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pressure to meet expectations of others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weakens individual intrinsic motivation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impairs learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can damage relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be harmful to health </li></ul></ul>
    35. 37. Self-presentation <ul><li>Behaviors that convey an image to others </li></ul><ul><li>Public esteem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More important than private self-esteem </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Public behaviour </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acting for the audience </li></ul></ul>
    36. 38. Functions of self-presentation <ul><li>Social acceptance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase chance of acceptance and maintain place within the group </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Claiming identity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social validation of claims to identity </li></ul></ul>
    37. 39. Good self-presentation <ul><li>Demonstrate positive traits </li></ul><ul><li>Behave with consideration of audience </li></ul><ul><li>Tradeoff </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tendency toward favorable presentation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Modesty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More prevalent in long-term relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Risky behaviors </li></ul>
    38. 40. Self-concept <ul><li>Cognitive representations of the self. </li></ul><ul><li>Now commonly seen as a set of multi-dimensional and hierarchically organized domains of self-concept, e.g., </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical Self-Concept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic Self-Concept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Self-Concept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Same-Sex Relations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Opposite-Sex Relations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Parent Relations, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Top-down vs. bottom-up debate </li></ul>
    39. 41. Self-efficacy <ul><li>Belief in one’s capacity to succeed at a given task. e.g. Public Speaking Self-Efficacy </li></ul><ul><li>Bandura recommended specific rather than general measures of Self-efficacy. </li></ul>
    40. 42. Self-efficacy <ul><li>e.g. Social Self-Efficacy for Relating to Teachers </li></ul><ul><li>1. I can get along with most of my teachers. </li></ul><ul><li>2. I can go and talk with most of my teachers. </li></ul><ul><li>3. I can get my teachers to help me if I have problems with other students. </li></ul><ul><li>4. I can explain what I think to most of my teachers. </li></ul><ul><li>5. I ask the teacher to tell me how well I'm doing in class. </li></ul><ul><li>(Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 2005) </li></ul>
    41. 43. <ul><li>Rogers: Self-congruence </li></ul>Incongruence  Anxiety  Defense ACTUAL IDEAL EXPERIENCE
    42. 44. Self has evolutionary functions <ul><li>Self-bias e.g., access to resources </li></ul><ul><li>Self-organization / Self-complexity e.g., adaptability & self-insight/self-control </li></ul><ul><li>Self-promotion e.g., for increased likelihood of mating </li></ul><ul><li>Social comparison e.g., motivation to improve </li></ul><ul><li>Social control e.g., storage of social norms and rules </li></ul>
    43. 45. Self has evolutionary functions <ul><li>Self-bias e.g., access to resources </li></ul><ul><li>Self-organization / Self-complexity e.g., adaptability & self-insight/self-control </li></ul><ul><li>Self-promotion e.g., for increased likelihood of mating </li></ul><ul><li>Social comparison e.g., motivation to improve </li></ul><ul><li>Social control e.g., storage of social norms and rules </li></ul>
    44. 46. Self has adaptational functions <ul><li>“ People’s selves allow them to regulate their own behavior , an advantage for both self and group.” </li></ul>
    45. 47. Self has adaptational functions <ul><li>“ The self can serve various social psychological functions; having a self is not only knowing where your skin ends, but also how to get along in a group .” (Fiske, 2004, p. 176) </li></ul>
    46. 48. Self-complexity <ul><li>People generally see themselves as more complex and others as less complex. </li></ul>
    47. 49. Self-complexity <ul><li>There are individual variations in self-complexity, with self-complexity being advantageous e.g., less depressed, better able to handle stress, etc. </li></ul>
    48. 50. Self-complexity <ul><li>… includes having multiple possible selves. </li></ul>
    49. 51. Social comparison <ul><li>Everyone uses social comparison to: </li></ul><ul><li>Understand how they are doing (through comparison with similar others) </li></ul><ul><li>Feel better (through downward comparison) </li></ul><ul><li>To improve (through upward comparison) </li></ul>
    50. 52. Social feedback <ul><li>Symbolic interactionism: All self perceptions are based on one’s history of social interactions. </li></ul>
    51. 53. Social feedback <ul><li>Reflected appraisal: One’s sense of self is based on how one perceives that others perceives one. </li></ul>
    52. 54. Social feedback <ul><li>Spotlight effect : People tend to think other people notice and evaluate them more than they actually do. </li></ul>
    53. 55. Social feedback <ul><li>Transparency Effect : People tend to think that their inner self ‘leaks out’ and is more obvious than it really is. </li></ul>
    54. 56. Self-discrepancies <ul><li>Actual-Ideal -> Promotion Focus (failure -> Depression) </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal-Ought -> Prevention Focus (failure -> Anxiety) </li></ul>
    55. 57. Self-discrepancies <ul><li>Self-evaluation maintenance theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More relevant the comparison, the more threat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Closer the person is, the more emotion (+ve or –ve) </li></ul></ul>
    56. 58. Strategic self-presentation <ul><li>Ingratiation (being liked) </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Promotion (being competent) </li></ul><ul><li>Intimidation (being in control) </li></ul><ul><li>Exemplification (Worthy, saintly) </li></ul><ul><li>Supplication (Helpless) </li></ul>
    57. 61. Self-monitoring <ul><li>High (adjusts behavior to situation; monitors situation) </li></ul><ul><li>Low (principled attitudes guide behaviour) </li></ul>
    58. 62. Self-regulation <ul><li>Monitoring and controlling self-presentation and behavior uses up valuable self-regulatory resources. </li></ul>
    59. 63. Self-awareness <ul><li>Attention directed at the self </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Private self-awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public self-awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Usually involves evaluative comparison. </li></ul>
    60. 64. Self-awareness <ul><li>In general, people spend little time actually thinking about themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>(but a lot of time is spent thinking about self-presentation and self-preservation) </li></ul>
    61. 65. Self-awareness <ul><li>Certain situations (e.g., mirrors, cameras, audiences, self-development exercises, increase self-awareness) </li></ul><ul><li>Individual differences in self-consciousness </li></ul>
    62. 66. Self compared to standards <ul><li>Concepts of how things might possibly be </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ideals, norms, expectations, moral principles, laws, past experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Around age 2, begin use of standards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Beginning of self-awareness </li></ul></ul>
    63. 67. Self-awareness and behaviour <ul><li>Self-awareness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improves behaviour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enables people to be more socially desirable </li></ul></ul>
    64. 68. Self-awareness <ul><li>Causes us to notice self-discrepancies and can produce temporary reductions in self-esteem. </li></ul>
    65. 69. Self-awareness <ul><li>To cope, we either adjust our behavior to meet our standards or withdraw from self-focusing situations. e.g., watch TV, play sport, alcohol, suicide. </li></ul>
    66. 70. Self-awareness
    67. 71. Purpose of self-awareness <ul><li>Self-regulation </li></ul><ul><li>Adopt the perspective of other people </li></ul><ul><li>Manage behavior in pursuit of goals </li></ul>
    68. 72. Why people seek self-knowledge <ul><li>Appraisal motive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Looking for the truth about oneself </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Self-enhancement Motive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Looking for flattering things about self </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consistency motive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Looking for confirmation about current belief about self </li></ul></ul>
    69. 73. When motives compete <ul><li>Appraisal motive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weakest motive </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Self-enhancement motive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strongest motive (emotional appeal) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consistency motive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Second preference (cognitive appeal) </li></ul></ul>
    70. 74. Self-knowledge and the duplex mind <ul><li>Automatic egotism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Automatic, self-enhancing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Modesty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conscious, deliberate control </li></ul></ul>
    71. 75. Self and information processing <ul><li>Self-reference Effect </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information bearing on self is processed more deeply and remembered better </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Endowment effect </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Items gain in value to the person who owns them </li></ul></ul>
    72. 76. Can self-concept change? <ul><li>Self-concept tends to be consistent with public self: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People expect you to stay the same </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changing social environment may change inner self </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Convince others that you have changed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow others to see your changed behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Memory shifts to fit new self-concept. </li></ul>
    73. 77. References <ul><li>Fiske, S. T. (2004). The self: Social to the core . In S. T. Fiske (2004). Social beings: A core motives approach to social psychology. (Ch 5, pp. 169 – 214). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley. </li></ul><ul><li>Hoover-Dempsey, K.V., & Sandler, H.M. (2005). Final Performance Report for OERI Grant # R305T010673: The Social Context of Parental Involvement: A Path to Enhanced Achievement. Presented to Project Monitor, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, March 22, 2005. </li></ul>
    74. 78. Open Office Impress <ul><li>This presentation was made using Open Office Impress. </li></ul><ul><li>Free and open source software. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>