Me: statements about the self; I am friendly, I have brown hair; the main topic of this chapter because it can be more easily studied The I: a somewhat mysterious entity; experiences life and makes decisions; people differ in level of self-awareness
Two approaches: assume the self is a Western cultural artifact that has no meaning in other cultures; examine how the self and its implications might differ across cultural contexts
Differences in how Americans and Indians describe others: Americans—50% trait terms: friendly, cheap, etc.; Indians—20% trait terms: what they do for others: Brings cakes to my family, has trouble giving to his family; assumption: People think of themselves in the same way they think of others. Differences in number of trait terms in languages: English has several times more trait terms than Chinese. Other interpretations are possible: 20% of Indian descriptions were trait terms, so they understand the concept; phrases given by Indian participants may still be traits, but they are just longer and more descriptive.
This is the second approach to research. Self-regard: The need for positive self-regard may be felt less acutely by a member of a collectivist culture because individual well-being is more connected to the well-being of a larger group.
Expectations for consistency depend on the perceived cause of behavior: individualistic cultures perceive the cause of behavior to be internal and expect consistency; collectivist cultures perceive the cause of behavior to be external and do not expect consistency (and also feel less conflict about inconsistent behavior) Differences in consistency are absolute, not relative: In both cultures, people who are the highest on a trait in one situation are also highest in other situations (relative consistency); but individuals in collective cultures have more varied behavior across situations than individuals in individualistic cultures (absolute consistency). Personality matters: in both kinds of cultures
Psychological self: our abilities and personalities Influences behavior: because people are sometimes motivated to maintain their self-image Organizes knowledge (one of the most important functions of the self)
These are the purposes. Self-regulation: ability to restrain impulses and keep focused on long-term goals Information processing filter: helps us focus on, remember, and organize the information that matters to us Help us understand others: helps with empathy, by imagining how we would feel Identity: reminds us where we fit in our relations with others (position in the family and community)
Two types of self-knowledge Declarative knowledge: the facts and impressions that we consciously know and can describe Activity 17-1. Sentence completion about the self Procedural knowledge: knowledge expressed through actions rather than words Relational self: patterns of social skills and styles of relating to others; extraverted people are more likely to seek out social interaction and start conversations Implicit self: unconscious self-knowledge; we are not aware of these characteristics, but they influence our behavior
Definition: all of your conscious knowledge or opinions about your own personality traits; an overall opinion (self-esteem) and a more detailed opinion Self-esteem: your overall opinion about whether you are good or bad, worthy or unworthy, or somewhere in between Low self-esteem is related to dissatisfaction with life, hopelessness, depression, loneliness, and delinquency; these might be warning signs that something is wrong (sociometer theory); may motivate people to restore their reputations Attempts to increase self-esteem may be detrimental: by making people more aware that they do not have the positive perceptions of themselves that they would like Self-esteem can be too high: self-enhancement is related to problems in relationships, worse mental health, and maladjustment; arrogant, abusive, and criminal behavior; and narcissism How to legitimately increase self-esteem: accomplish important tasks Activity 17-2. Self-esteem test Baumeister et al. article in the reader: Self-esteem, narcissism, and aggression Donnellan et al. article in the reader: Low self-esteem is related to aggression, antisocial behavior, and delinquency Note: It’s good to read both articles because they test similar questions but have conflicting results
Definition: all of one’s ideas about the self, organized into a coherent system B data: reaction times when determining whether a trait term was “me” or “not me”—schematics possessed faster reaction time to schema relevant traits May have important consequences for how one processes information: easier to remember information about the self that fits with one’s self-schema; process information related to self-schema more quickly; limit seeing beyond one’s self-image or by viewing things in a rigid way that fits with one’s self-image Not based on memories of specific events: Case studies of two people who lost memory of specific life events showed that they still knew what their personalities were like and had general knowledge of themselves; suggests the self-schema is not dependent on memories for specific events. Klein et al. article in reader: Self-knowledge of an amnesiac patient
Self-reference effect: the enhancement of long-term memory that comes from thinking of how information relates to the self Increases accessibility: because the knowledge structure related to the self is rich, well-developed, and often used Depends on culture: the self-reference effect may work differently in different cultures; for Chinese people, information thought about in terms of one’s mother or father was remembered as well as information thought about in terms of the self, which suggests mother and father are included in the self-concept Activity 17-3. Demonstration of self-reference and memory
Definition: one’s beliefs about the degree to which one will be able to accomplish a goal, if one tries May form the foundations of personality: This is the view of Dweck. Activity 17-6. Assessment of perceived self-efficacy
Definition: the images we have, or can construct, of the other possible ways we might be Possible future selves may affect goals: Who you think you will be or what role you will have may influence the goals you set. Evidence that it affects mate preferences: People who were asked to imagine themselves as married with children and working as a homemaker preferred mates who were older and could provide for them (consistent with what women typically report, so women may be more likely to perceive homemaker as a future possible self than men). Want similar future selves: People want their future self to be similar to how they are now (we want continuity of identity). Activity 17-4. Possible selves exercise
Ideal self: view of what you could be at your best Discrepancy leads to depression: because of disappointment at failing to achieve rewards Ought self: view of what you should be Discrepancy leads to anxiety: because of fear of not avoiding punishment
A hallmark of mental health: people who are healthy, secure, and wise enough to see the world as it is tend to see themselves more accurately too; accurate self-knowledge allows people to make better decisions on important issues Process for gaining accurate self-knowledge: based on assumption that we learn about ourselves in the same way that we learn about others
Important differences in perceiving ourselves vs. others: attending to the self is difficult; all you see is what you decide to do (and this is difficult to compare to what others do) Others know our behaviors better than we do: People tend to think that others would behave the same way that they did, and therefore they do not learn as much about how their behaviors differ from others and are related to their personality. But time may put our own behavior in perspective because when people think about behaviors in the past, they are more likely to see their pattern of behavior and how it differs from others.
Introspection: look into your own mind and understand who you are; honestly evaluate your behavior Seek feedback: especially helpful for aspects that are obvious to everyone but you; either through direct feedback or from reading subtle, nonverbal indicators of what people think of you Observe own behavior: put yourself in different situations, try new things, and meet new people This can be limited by where you live (small town), and family or culture (if self-expression is not encouraged) Activity 17-5. Improving self-knowledge exercise
Definition: patterns of behavior that are characteristic of an individual; the unique aspects of what you do; includes ways of doing things, or procedures Relational self-schema: self-knowledge based on past experiences that directs how we relate to the important people in our lives Difficult to change: probably because they are set early in life
Definition: self-relevant behavioral patterns that are not readily accessible to consciousness Measure with the IAT (Implicit Association Test): by testing the strength of associations in an individual’s cognitive system that the person might not be conscious of
Self-esteem: “me” and “good” are implicitly associated for people with high self-esteem, so reaction time with this pair should be faster Narcissism: implicit self-esteem is lower than explicit Shyness: declarative predicts controlled behavior (speech, gestures), and implicit predicts spontaneous behavior (facial expressions, body movements) Implication: We have attitudes and feelings about many things of which we are not entirely aware, but this influences our emotions and behaviors.
Conscious self-consciousness: awareness of who one is and what one is doing; the traditional view Negative implications: overly focused on the self, especially during social interactions Unconscious self-consciousness: view of the self affects behavior in ways the person is not aware of Goal-directed behavior: Behavior is more likely to be guided by attitudes and values than by the immediate situation when people have higher levels of unconscious self-awareness. Information processing: People may process information as relevant to themselves.
The active self: depends on where you are and who you are with Working self-concept: the view that the self is continuously changing Deciding which self to be: Is there a self that decides which self to be? Where does one stop fractionating the self? There is no way to decide how many selves to break a person into. We are each really only one person.
Correct answer: c (d is true for relative consistency but not for absolute consistency)