SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, BUILDING AND DESIGN
FOUNDATION IN NATURAL AND BUILT ENVIRONMENTS
NAME: KIMBERLEY EE SZE ANN
STUDENT ID NO: 0315319
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY (PSYC0103)
LECTURER: MS CHIA YEE PANG
Self- concept, as defined in Baumeister (1999) is "the individual's belief about himself or herself,
including the person's attributes and who and what the self is". What I understand from this is
that self-concept is the way we see ourselves through our own eyes. In fact, during our lecture
about self- concept, we were asked to list down 5 different definitions of ourselves.
This was my list:
1. I am a daughter.
2. I am a sister.
3. I am a friend.
4. I am a student.
5. I am an animal lover.
Later, we were asked to sit in groups and present what we had written. This was a very
interesting experience because I was able to observe how different people define themselves
from different viewpoints and perspectives. For example, while my list mostly defined myself
based on my relationship to others, I would also hear some of my friends giving definitions such
as I am hard working, or I am a musician. So, while I was defining myself based on social
identity, others were defining themselves based on personal traits.
I found the differences in our definitions to be powerful indicators of the way we view ourselves.
It gave me a much greater insight of the human mind and also allowed me to better understand
my close friends whom I thought I already knew quite well.
Furthermore, I also found it challenging to share my definition of myself with my classmates.
The exercise of having to sit together in a circle and share our list was quite daunting for me.
However, I feel that I now have a better relationship with my friends as we now understand each
other on a higher level.
Reference: Baumeister, R. F. (Ed.) (1999). The Self in Social Psychology. Philadelphia, PA:
Psychology Press (Taylor & Francis).
Self-knowledge according to (Boundless.com, 2013) can be defined as knowledge or insight into
one's own nature and abilities. With adequate self-knowledge we will be able to understand
ourselves better; we will be able to explain and predict our feelings and behaviour. For example,
our choice of where to study, the reason we choose to love someone or even the act of lashing
out at a friend.
The question is always why, why would we choose to act in that way at that particular time?
Often, we answer these questions in the privacy of our own minds. However, an interesting thing
that I have learnt in my psychology class is that self-explanations are often wrong. Therefore, if
you need a clear opinion on something it is better to share your thoughts with a close friend or
family member rather than to keep it bottled up inside.
This is indeed true; for I too have experienced many situations where what I’d like to think is
true in my own mind has actually been proven wrong by those I choose to confide in. Even
when I try to be as realistic as possible, I find that often I have overestimated my own abilities.
Hence, I find that it is important that we understand ourselves better as this way we can plan the
best ways for us to succeed. For, example, because I am prone to overestimating my abilities I
find that it is important that I set higher goals for myself so that even if I fall short, what I
achieve is still satisfactory and I do not end up disappointing myself.
Reference: Boundless.com. 2013. Definition of Self-knowledge - Psychology. [online] Available
at: https://www.boundless.com/psychology/definition/self-knowledge/ [Accessed: 18 Nov 2013].
Self-serving bias is defined by (Psych Central.com, 2013) as the common human tendency to
attribute one’s successes to personal characteristics, and one’s failures to factors beyond one’s
This topic was really interesting for me to learn because I find that I have often been prone to
self-serving bias. One example is when I was sitting for my Malaysian Studies and Moral exams
last semester. I had not studied properly for both papers but after finding the Malaysian Studies
paper easy I proudly bragged that I had burned the midnight oil the night before and was fully
prepared for the exam. On the other hand, after finding the moral exam tough, I started to say
that I was too tired from studying all night and if I obtained poor results it was because I was
unable to focus properly and had a terrible headache.
It is interesting to know that many people fall victim to self-serving bias in many different ways;
they like to believe that things will work out for them even if not for others or that they are
unique I in comparison with others.
Although I myself feel that self-serving is not a serious flaw, I do understand now the importance
of being aware of how our mind works. If we allow self-serving bias to boost our confidence in
making decisions we could seriously regret the outcomes in the end.
Reference: Psych Central.com. 2013. » Self-Serving Bias - Encyclopedia of Psychology. [online]
Available at: http://psychcentral.com/encyclopedia/2009/self-serving-bias/ [Accessed: 18 Nov