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Understanding of Self
Applied Social Psychology By M.S. Ahluwalia
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Contents
1. Self, Identity and Personality
2. Theoretical Perspectives About Self
3. Correlates of the Self
4. Culture, Gender and Self
5. Indian Perspectives on Self
Understanding
of
Self
Super-Notes
10
The Evolution of Self
11
Self,
Identity
and
Personality
>>
The
Evolution
of
Self
• According to Sedikides & Skowronski (1997), the evolution of self, led to better
adaptation. In the course of evolution, human beings began to have increasing
levels of self-awareness, that is, the ability to be aware of one’s self or one’s
existence in the environment around oneself.
• This happened in three phases across species:
• In our everyday life all three types of self-awareness are used.
1
Subjective
Self-Awareness
2
Objective
Self-Awareness
3
Symbolic
Self-Awareness
1. Subjective Self-Awareness
12
Self,
Identity
and
Personality
>>
The
Evolution
of
Self
First, subjective self-awareness came into existence:
• We understand that we are physically separate from other people and other
things that surround us.
• We know that we are not part of the chair we are sitting on or the table on which we
are writing.
• Plants do not have the capacity to make this separation or express it like humans.
Subjective
Self-awareness
the awareness that the self is separate and distinct from other objects and
beings in one’s environment.
2. Objective Self-Awareness
13
Self,
Identity
and
Personality
>>
The
Evolution
of
Self
• The person can concentrate on one’s self and think about oneself.
• Apes and human beings developed this ability.
• When we see ourselves in the mirror, or think about our interests or our health, we
are being objectively self-aware.
Objective
Self-awareness
the awareness that the self can be an object of its own attention, that the person
“knows that s/he knows” or “remembers that s/he remembers”.
3. Symbolic Self-Awareness
14
Self,
Identity
and
Personality
>>
The
Evolution
of
Self
• Humans finally developed the ability to express themselves through language and
thought.
• They used language to communicate their own thoughts with themselves as well as with
others around them.
• As humans are evolutionarily advanced, endowed with intellect and have created culture,
they are the only species who are symbolically self-aware.
• We use many different forms and symbols to express our desires, our thoughts and our
feelings. So, the self finds expression through language, poetry, art forms, dance, and
drama.
Symbolic
Self-awareness
awareness and ability to use symbols and language to represent themselves.
Difference between Self, Identity, and Personality
15
Self,
Identity
and
Personality
>>
What’s
the
difference?
All three – self, identity and personality - are used to explain human agency.
1
Personality
• Personality is a
psychological concept
• It refers to an
individual’s unique and
relatively stable
patterns of thoughts,
behaviours and
feelings.
2
Self
• The self refers to
personal and
experiential aspects of
living
• It is characterized by
‘inner’ attributes and
explanations within a
person.
3
Identity
• Identity is closer to the
social and the
observable
• It refers to the more
‘outer’ aspects of being
perceived as a person.
Human Agency
includes ideas associated with being human - our intentions, willingness and
behaviours.
Difference between Self, Identity, and Personality
16
Self,
Identity
and
Personality
>>
What’s
the
difference?
Personality
• Personality can be assessed and
explained in terms of some salient
features and attributes that one
possesses like being talkative or
shy.
• Psychologists have identified five
central dimensions or the ‘Big
Five’ of personality which include
extraversion, agreeableness,
conscientiousness, emotional
stability, and openness to
experience.
Self
• The self includes being aware
about one’s physical body as well
as psychological boundaries of
one’s self from other selves,
including categories like
descendants and ancestors.
• The self feels responsible for
one’s own actions (some of the
times) and can also hold others
responsible for theirs.
• Different notions of the self, like
decontextualized, autonomous,
independent or contextualized,
relational, interdependent are held
to explain the interface of the self
with its external context.
Identity
• Identity depends on the social
context of behaviour and at a
given point of time; one could
hold many salient identities.
• Example: if you are travelling alone
to a secluded area, your gender
identity as a man or woman may
become salient with reference to
issues of safety. Similarly, social
class and caste identities become
salient with reference to some
practices like eating and dressing.
Collective Identity and the Self
17
Self,
Identity
and
Personality
>>
What’s
the
difference?
• Identity becomes more complex with reference to group or collective membership.
• Example: identity as a Gujarati or Punjabi or a Hindu or a Muslim is different from your
professional identity as a doctor or a lawyer.
• In a culturally diverse country like India, factors like caste, religion, region and
language related identities influence the self in significant ways.
• On one hand, these identities integrate with the self and create social diversity.
• On the other hand, these very factors may become reasons for social and political upheavals in the
country from time to time.
• Thus, collective identities play a very important role in understanding the self in a
social context, especially with reference to social stigma and issues of marginalization.
c
Contents
1. Self, Identity and Personality
2. Theoretical Perspectives About Self
3. Correlates of the Self
4. Culture, Gender and Self
5. Indian Perspectives on Self
Understanding
of
Self
Super-Notes
18
Theoretical Perspectives about the Self
19
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
William James in The Principles of Psychology (1890) described the self as the material
self, the social self, the spiritual self and the pure ego. This was followed by
other theoretical perspectives which explain the self, as a psychological entity:
1
Psychoanalytic
Perspective
• Sigmund Freud’s
Theory of
Psychosexual
Development
2
Humanistic
Perspective
• Carl Roger’s Self
Theory
• Abraham Maslow’s
Self-Actualisation
Theory
3
Social Learning
Perspective
• Skinner’s Learning
Theory
• Albert Bandura’s
Social Cognitive
Theory
4
Developmental
Perspective
• Erik Erikson’s
Psychosocial
Development Theory
• James Marcia’s
Identity Status
Theory
Next
Psychoanalytic Theories
20
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
>>
Psychoanalytic
Perspective
• Psychoanalytic explanations of self and personality highlight intrapsychic (internal,
within the person) processes.
• Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychosexual development refers to the development of
personality through structures of id, ego and super ego.
• With reference to the self, Freud explained many types of personalities like the anal or
compulsive personality with typical behaviours of being overly possessive of things and
people or being overly organized and concerned with cleanliness.
• Freud emphasized that our instinctual, bestial tendencies need to be controlled and
explained the struggle between the ego and the id.
• The theory not only explained normal behaviours, but also broadened the realm of the self
to include areas other than the conscious and accessible.
The Three Realms of the Human Mind
21
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
>>
Psychoanalytic
Perspective
Freud believed that the mind was governed by three realms:
1
The Conscious
• Forms a small part of
our mind
• Concerned with
immediate thinking or
present experiences.
2
The Preconscious
• Bigger than the
conscious
• Contains memories
which may not be part
of current thinking
but can be readily
recollected, if need be.
3
The Unconscious
• Biggest and the most
crucial realm that lay
beneath the conscious
and the preconscious,
• Includes our thoughts,
desires and impulses
about which we are
largely unaware.
The unconscious is full of repressed thoughts that were considered anxiety provoking and
thus, pushed away into this inaccessible realm. Freud explained many neurotic and
behavioural disorders by interpreting the unconscious.
Theoretical Perspectives about the Self
22
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
William James in The Principles of Psychology (1890) described the self as the material
self, the social self, the spiritual self and the pure ego. This was followed by
other theoretical perspectives which explain the self, as a psychological entity:
1
Psychoanalytic
Perspective
• Sigmund Freud’s
Theory of
Psychosexual
Development
2
Humanistic
Perspective
• Carl Roger’s Self
Theory
• Abraham Maslow’s
Self-Actualisation
Theory
3
Social Learning
Perspective
• Skinner’s Learning
Theory
• Albert Bandura’s
Social Cognitive
Theory
4
Developmental
Perspective
• Erik Erikson’s
Psychosocial
Development Theory
• James Marcia’s
Identity Status
Theory
Next
Abraham Maslow’s Self-actualization theory
23
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
>>
Humanistic
Perspective
• Based on the study of psychologically healthy people, who reach their maximum
human potential through peak experiences.
• Giving a hierarchy of needs, Maslow says that if lower order needs like food and
safety are fulfilled, then a person moves to achieve higher order needs like
intellectual innovations, self-expression and creativity.
• He believed that self-actualized people look at the positive aspects of life and
are seldom bothered by problems of everyday life like boredom.
Humanistic theorists disagreed with Freud on his assumption about human nature.
These theorists believed in the positive and constructive human strivings for
growth, dignity and self-determination.
Carl Roger’s Self Theory
24
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
>>
Humanistic
Perspective
States that:
• Poorly adjusted selves have little overlap between their self-concept and their
experiences. In order to fulfil the expectations, they have to distort their real self.
• Well-adjusted individuals experience more overlap between their immediate experiences
and their self-concepts, so they can behave the way they really are.
• Example:
• If a short tempered (part of self-concept) person is expected to control his anger and behave in a calm
and composed manner, he will experience frustration because of inability to express his true feelings.
He may withdraw from social situations or be unable to control his rage, leading to maladjustment.
• If a person is good at academics and is supported and encouraged to do well in school, there is a better
fit between what he actually is and what he is expected to do. This leads to better personal growth.
Theoretical Perspectives about the Self
25
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
William James in The Principles of Psychology (1890) described the self as the material
self, the social self, the spiritual self and the pure ego. This was followed by
other theoretical perspectives which explain the self, as a psychological entity:
1
Psychoanalytic
Perspective
• Sigmund Freud’s
Theory of
Psychosexual
Development
2
Humanistic
Perspective
• Carl Roger’s Self
Theory
• Abraham Maslow’s
Self-Actualisation
Theory
3
Social Learning
Perspective
• Skinner’s Learning
Theory
• Albert Bandura’s
Social Cognitive
Theory
4
Developmental
Perspective
• Erik Erikson’s
Psychosocial
Development Theory
• James Marcia’s
Identity Status
Theory
Next
Skinner’s Learning Theory
26
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
>>
Social
Learning
Perspective
• Unlike Freudian perspectives, the early social learning theorists like B. F. Skinner
highlighted the role of external, environmental factors and learning processes
in the development of self and personality.
• However, with more research it was established that biological and internal
factors like cognition, interact with environmental factors and
reinforcement strategies (rewards, punishments) to produce consistency in
behaviour.
Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory
27
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
>>
Social
Learning
Perspective
• This theory explains the self-system, which consists of cognitive processes by which a
person perceives, evaluates and regulates his own behaviour.
• Through his theory, Bandura brought to light unique human capacities like:
• Self-regulation - the capacity to regulate and control one’s actions with reference to their
consequences
• Self-reinforcement - the capacity to reward themselves when goals set by the self are achieved.
• Example:
• When we participate in a marathon or prepare for an exam, everyone has different goals. Some may want to just
finish the race or pass the exam; others may want to win the race or achieve a high percentage of marks.
• Each person, depending on his goals, will congratulate and encourage himself for moving to higher goals. They
consciously regulate, monitor their behaviour and efforts to achieve their goals like changing their strategies
of preparation or practising for longer times or overcoming their identified weaknesses.
Theoretical Perspectives about the Self
28
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
William James in The Principles of Psychology (1890) described the self as the material
self, the social self, the spiritual self and the pure ego. This was followed by
other theoretical perspectives which explain the self, as a psychological entity:
1
Psychoanalytic
Perspective
• Sigmund Freud’s
Theory of
Psychosexual
Development
2
Humanistic
Perspective
• Carl Roger’s Self
Theory
• Abraham Maslow’s
Self-Actualisation
Theory
3
Social Learning
Perspective
• Skinner’s Learning
Theory
• Albert Bandura’s
Social Cognitive
Theory
4
Developmental
Perspective
• Erik Erikson’s
Psychosocial
Development Theory
• James Marcia’s
Identity Status
Theory
Next
Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory
29
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
>>
Developmental
Perspective
• Developmental perspectives explain how the self develops at various life stages and
what are the most influential factors that enable or hinder self-development.
• Erik Erikson’s theory essentially explains self as a psychosocial entity and
emphasizes that throughout the stages of the human lifespan, the individual is
concerned about understanding and furthering one’s psychosocial identity.
• This process is heightened during the stage of adolescence and young
adulthood where an adolescent experiences identity crises and actively seeks to
understand and establish his / her identity in the social world.
• Erikson highlighted the role of culture in self-development: identity development
takes places in response to socio-cultural expectations.
Marcia’s Identity Status Theory (1/2)
30
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
>>
Developmental
Perspective
• James Marcia, a Canadian psychologist, furthered Erikson’s work on identity
development in young adulthood.
• Depending on whether adolescents have explored alternative selves or not, Marcia
came up with four identity patterns which young adults were likely to
experience.
• Like Erikson, Marcia concentrated on crises and commitments experienced by
young adults in the areas like career choice, politics and religious views.
• These in turn determined their identity status.
Marcia’s Identity Status Theory (2/2)
31
Theoretical
Perspectives
About
Self
>>
Developmental
Perspective
• Identity Status’ identified were:
Identity Diffusion
• where adolescents have
not experienced the
identity crises.
• This means they have
not explored their own
choices or preferences
seriously.
• They have not
experienced a crisis
which requires them to
choose or explore
various alternative
selves.
Identity Moratorium
• where adolescents are
still searching for an
identity.
• They are in the process
of finding themselves,
their priorities, and their
goals.
• They may be trying out
different alternative
selves by doing different
jobs or studying various
courses.
Identity Foreclosure
• where adolescents have
chosen an identity
suggested by parents
or other authority
figures.
• If parents think that the
adolescent should
become a doctor or an
engineer, the adolescent
just follows the parent’s
goals set for them,
without questioning
what they really want.
Identity Achievement
• where adolescents have
resolved the identity
crises and shown
commitment to a clear
alternative.
• They have explored
various roles and
interests and identified
what they like or shown
preference for some
alternatives more than
others.
c
Contents
1. Self, Identity and Personality
2. Theoretical Perspectives About Self
3. Correlates of the Self
4. Culture, Gender and Self
5. Indian Perspectives on Self
Understanding
of
Self
Super-Notes
32
Correlates of the Self
33
Correlates
of
the
Self
Correlates
of the Self
Self-
Concept
Self-Schema
Self-
Reference
Effect
Self-Esteem
Self-
Functioning
Next
Self-Concept
34
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Concept
• Self-concept is about a person’s strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, interests and much more. It
includes:
• Peripheral Aspects: those qualities or abilities that are distant from the real self and are less likely to be associated
with the person.
• Central Aspects of one’s self-concept: those qualities or abilities that are closer to the real self and are more likely to
be used to describe the person’s strengths, abilities or weaknesses.
• Example: if you’re a friendly and fun-loving person in most situations, that’s a central aspect of your self-
concept.
• This is because the characteristic of being friendly and fun loving describes you best as a person. At the same time, it is a
consistent characteristic, true about you in most situations.
• If you are not good at painting then your description as a painter does not describe you as a person adequately. So, even if
you can paint, you may not be known (or want to be known) as a painter. This is thus, a peripheral aspect of your self-
concept.
Self-Concept an organized collection of beliefs, attitudes and values about the self.
Self-Concept responds to Social Influences and Life Events
35
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Concept
It:
• Changes with age because of the different social and environmental demands
made on us from time to time.
• Affected by the feedback we get from others, especially when what people believe
about us, is inconsistent with our own self beliefs.
• Positive and negative life events like the birth of a child, a promotion or the
death of a parent or spouse can affect our self-concept.
• Our profession or jobs we hold from time to time also bring changes in our self-
concept as our roles and responsibilities change in accordance with our work.
Self-Concept in India
36
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Concept
• Research in India shows that:
• Parental warmth and child centeredness promotes positive self-concept among
children.
• Lower socioeconomic or marginalized societal status may not negatively affect self-
concept.
• Comparative researches with these specific social groups show mixed results.
• Socioeconomic factors may or may not have a profound negative effect.
• In fact, some researches show children and adolescents from these vulnerable groups
have an equal or higher emotional and moral self-concept.
Correlates of the Self
37
Correlates
of
the
Self
Correlates
of the Self
Self-
Concept
Self-Schema
Self-
Reference
Effect
Self-Esteem
Self-
Functioning
Next
Self-Schema
38
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Schema
• With the help of a self-schema, a person can make comparisons about how she
was in the past with how she is now and what expected changes she will undergo in
future.
• Self-schemas guide our present behaviour for future outcomes.
• Example: if you want to lose weight, then you know how you look now (fat or overweight)
and how you would like to look in future (leaner and slimmer than now).
• The same is true for behavioural expectations from the self also. Example: if I want to be
more social and friendly than I am now; I will have to make new friends, I will have to meet
new people and socialize in unfamiliar groups.
Self-Schema
includes everything related to the past, present and future of the self. It is
everything a person remembers, knows and can imagine about oneself.
Correlates of the Self
39
Correlates
of
the
Self
Correlates
of the Self
Self-
Concept
Self-Schema
Self-
Reference
Effect
Self-Esteem
Self-
Functioning
Next
Self-Reference Effect
40
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Reference
Effect
• The self is the centre of a person’s social world.
• As self-schemas are very well developed, we process self-relevant information
better than anything else.
• Self-relevant information like our last names, our birthdays, the first alphabet of our name
become important for us and we pay more attention in processing such information.
• We also remember such information better than other things.
• Example: if someone shares the same birth year or birthdate as our own, we tend to
remember that person better than others. The same thing is true if we share the same
names or belong to same cities.
Self-Reference
when the self becomes the source of reference and has an effect on our
attention and memory.
Correlates of the Self
41
Correlates
of
the
Self
Correlates
of the Self
Self-
Concept
Self-Schema
Self-
Reference
Effect
Self-Esteem
Self-
Functioning
Next
Self-Esteem
42
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Esteem
• A person can have high self-esteem or low self-esteem, depending on how s/he
evaluates her/his abilities and her/his own self-worth.
• People with high self-esteem tend to be confident of their abilities and feel good
and worthy about themselves.
• People with low self-esteem generally are introverted, feel less confident and feel
something is lacking in themselves.
Self-Esteem is an evaluation of oneself.
Social Comparison
43
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Esteem
• It is of two types:
• Upward Social Comparison
• Downward Social Comparison
• Upward and downward social comparison have differing effects on our self-
esteem depending on:
• Our own attributes and
• Our evaluation of them
• Our evaluation of the group with which we are making a comparison.
Social
Comparison
People compare themselves with other members of a group or society in order to
measure their own capabilities.
Social Comparison – Upward vs. Downward
44
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Esteem
Downward Social Comparison
• When people compare themselves with others
who are “worse off” than their own self, they feel
good about themselves.
• Example: if someone gets less marks than you, you
feel good about your performance on the test.
• Downward social comparisons with strangers and
peers or even in groups generally lead to higher
self-esteem.
• But when you downwardly compare yourself
with a family member, it may lower your self-
esteem. So, if your brother gets less marks than
you or if your sister is obese, then your self-esteem
declines due to their characteristics and your
association with them.
Upward Social Comparison
• When people compare themselves with others
who are “better off” than their own self.
• When you compare yourself with a stranger who
is more beautiful than you are, it may not have
any effect. But if your friend is more beautiful
than you are, it may lead to a decline in your
self-esteem.
• Similarly, if your mother is more beautiful than
you, or your brother gets a prestigious award,
your self-esteem goes up as you are associated
with them.
Paradoxical Self-Esteem
45
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Esteem
• When our thinking about ourselves is unrealistically high or low, we have
paradoxical self-esteem.
• Paradoxical self-esteem is a very relative idea, which means it depends to a great
extent on who is making the judgement about you.
• Experts may have very strict judgements about performance as compared to family
members or friends.
• However, research shows that having a higher or positive estimation of self
(than what is actual) can temporarily benefit a person’s mental health.
Paradoxical
Self-Esteem
When our actual competence does not match our self-evaluation, the
inconsistency results in a paradoxical self-esteem.
Paradoxical Self-Esteem – Case Example
46
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Esteem
• Suppose Annie considers herself a very good painter, her painting abilities (according to
her) give her high self-esteem.
• However, when her paintings are reviewed by others, they do not find them good and they
think she is not that good a painter.
• In this case, professional painters and artists may have a stricter (more objective) opinion
about her paintings than people she knows well, like her friends or family (who may have
subjective opinions).
• This leads to a paradoxical (confusing or contradictory) self-esteem for Reena, where her
beliefs about herself are unrealistically high and not supported by what others think about
her.
• The same may happen when we think too lowly of ourselves with reference to some skills
or abilities. Example: thinking that I am not so beautiful or I am really bad at mathematics.
Correlates of the Self
47
Correlates
of
the
Self
Correlates
of the Self
Self-
Concept
Self-Schema
Self-
Reference
Effect
Self-Esteem
Self-
Functioning
Next
Self-Functioning
48
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Functioning
Self-functioning comprises of three components:
Self-
Focussing
Self-
Monitoring
Self-
Efficacy
Self-
Functioning
1. Self-Focussing
49
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Functioning
• We self-focus more when a mirror is put in front of us or when we are under
someone’s observation.
• Similarly, when someone instructs us to ‘do as directed’, say describe what you see
out of a window, our focus of attention shifts from ourselves to the external world.
• Self-focussing increases during adolescence and can considerably vary from
person to person in the adult years.
• Too much self-focus or too much external focus can both be problematic. Thus, a
person needs to focus appropriately. This needs self-regulation.
Self-Focussing
act of diverting attention towards oneself as opposed to one’s surroundings. The
ability to focus inward on one’s self, away from the external environment.
Self-Regulation
50
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Functioning
• Through self-regulation, we reflect or introspect on past actions and events.
• Example: if you are thinking about why you had an argument with your mother
last week over something trivial, you are self-focussing on your behaviour and
whether what you did was appropriate or not.
Self-
Regulation
ability of controlling one’s thoughts and consequently the area of focus.
2. Self-Monitoring
51
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Functioning
High Self-Monitoring People
• People who change their behaviour based on
external cues.
• They are not consistent in their behaviour and
change according to what others or the external
situation expects or demands.
• Example: if others do not appreciate your
laughing out loudly or your accent, you make
efforts to change and fit into what others expect,
irrespective of how difficult it may be for you to
make this adjustment.
Low Self-Monitoring People
• People who behave consistently and in line
with their internal cues.
• They remain consistent and stable (true to their
beliefs) in varied circumstances.
• Example: if you are comfortable with your style of
dressing, you will continue to wear what you
wear, irrespective of what others say. Or if you
are an honest and truthful person, even if there is
no one watching over you, you will not steal or
cheat.
Self-
Monitoring
Human tendency to regulate and monitor own behaviour.
Extremely high self-monitors and extremely low self-monitors are both less well-adjusted in
social situations. Thus, it is best to maintain a golden mean or a middle range of self-monitoring.
Internal and External Cues
52
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Functioning
External Cues include how others react to our actions.
Internal Cues include our beliefs, attitudes and values on the basis of which we act.
3. Self-Efficacy (1/2)
53
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Functioning
• Self-efficacious people:
• are confident of their performance,
• can regulate their behaviour to achieve their set goals and also
• overcome barriers in the process of achieving their goals.
• Self-efficacy helps us to decide what we are good at and in a systematic, step by step manner, helps us
achieve our goals.
• Self-efficacious people have more clarity about tasks that they can achieve or fulfil and those that they cannot.
• This helps them to allocate their resources and time in a better manner to tasks that they are confident of solving
rather than those which they know they will not be able to solve.
• Example: Ram knows he cannot dance very well. So, he decides to participate in the singing competition, rather than the
dance competition. He is confident of his ability to sing or learn a new song and perform before an audience. Thus, he
concentrates on winning the singing competition by practicing more everyday than trying to learn how to dance!
Self-Efficacy person’s belief in her/his own ability to achieve some goals set by her/him.
3. Self-Efficacy (2/2)
54
Correlates
of
the
Self
>>
Self-Functioning
• Collective self-efficacy:
• a group feels sure about its performance or its ability to achieve a goal.
• Example: a cricket team or sales department.
• When members of a group are self-efficacious, the group performs better, otherwise it becomes
apathetic and each member starts believing that things will not change or that goals are set too high.
• Self-efficacy can be improved by intervention:
• This means that your belief in your own abilities can be enhanced if others show faith in you and
take you from one level to another, higher level of performance.
• Positive feedback and encouragement can enhance self-efficacy. Good teachers or mentors
generally enhance the student’s self-efficacy.
• If self-efficacy is enhanced in certain areas, adolescents are able to show resistance to peer
pressure and also have sustained and fruitful social relationships.
c
Contents
1. Self, Identity and Personality
2. Theoretical Perspectives About Self
3. Correlates of the Self
4. Culture, Gender and Self
5. Indian Perspectives on Self
Understanding
of
Self
Super-Notes
55
Impact of Culture on Self
56
Culture,
Gender
and
Self
• Culture is a pervasive category – it is ever
present and influences all aspects of human
functioning in subtle ways.
• Culture is a shared way of life, shared
meanings associated with everyday events,
activities, artifacts and social symbols.
• Language is a significant part of culture and
necessary for cultural continuity.
• Culture as a concept includes continuity and
change in its very nature:
• Like genetic or biological continuity, cultures also
propagate themselves over generations, through
individuals and groups, by continuing certain
practices and beliefs related to them.
• Cultures are also highly dynamic - they respond to
changing environmental demands and conditions and
reinvent themselves.
• It becomes necessary to situate individual selves in
this ever changing and dynamic background of
culture to understand the complex nature of self.
• Cultural psychologists suggest that culture and self
(or psyche) are inseparable and co-constitute each
other.
• Thus, when cultures continue, selves continue and when
cultures change, these changes are evident in the self-
construal also.
• Self-construal and understanding may differ across
cultures.
Gender, Culture and Self
57
Culture,
Gender
and
Self
• Gender also plays an important role in a person’s self-construal with reference to specific cultural
contexts. Both culture and gender thus, become important influencers and determinants of the
constituents of the self.
• Gender based norms of behaviour, gender stereotypes and gender identity, all have roots in
particular cultural ideologies.
• It is also important to note that most cultures in the world are predominantly patriarchal in nature
and thus, reinforce traditional gender norms and stereotypes that differentiate between men
and women on many issues, mainly division of labour and status in family and society.
• So, cultures more often than not, reinstate beliefs like women are supposed to care for families and
bear children, while men go out to earn.
• Other gender-stereotypical beliefs may include that men are physically stronger and can make
better decisions while women are emotionally stronger and cannot make rational decisions.
Development of Gender Identity
58
Culture,
Gender
and
Self
• As many of the gender-stereotypical beliefs are socially constructed, boys and girls are
exposed to them early on in life and thus, these become inseparable parts of their gender
socialization and eventually, gender identity.
• Gender identity, which starts developing by age two, involves a person’s identification
as male or female.
• By age four to seven, children start showing gender consistency: they understand that
gender is a constant and basic attribute of each person.
• Once these beliefs about gender consistency are established, later perceptions about
gender stereotypes depend on what we are taught about gender.
• This leads to sex typing, where as children grow older, they understand “correct” male
and female behaviour as per their own culture.
Gender Schema Theory
59
Culture,
Gender
and
Self
• Children learn about gender mainly from role models like parents and teachers. Thus,
it is very important to have balanced, gender equitable role models before the child,
rather than models which send out gender biased messages like ‘women are weaker, less
capable’, or ‘boys are brave and so should not cry’.
• On the other hand, tribal societies may have very different gender stereotypes and
role models (mostly, more gender equal and less patriarchal) which are applicable in their
own cultural context but very different from the mainstream.
• Thus, a variety of gender-based perceptions may develop and vary according to
cultural diversity.
Gender
Schema
Theory
children have an inherent readiness to organize all information about the self
on the basis of what their culture prescribes as appropriate male and female
attributes.
Autonomous vs. Relational Self
60
Culture,
Gender
and
Self
The self is explained in recent psychological literature mainly through two broad perspectives:
Self as
independent, autonomous and bounded
• This perspective understands the self as a
decontextualized entity, mechanical and
individualistic in nature.
• It refers to the self, independent of its
context.
• Essentially found in post-industrialized
individualistic western cultures.
Self as
interdependent, relational and unbounded
• The self as an unbounded and contextualized
entity has permeable borders and is socially
constituted.
• This self has social origins and is mainly
relational and collectivistic in nature.
• Found mostly in collectivistic eastern
cultures.
Given this broad categorization, different cultures show preference for one or the other
kind of self and many times even a mix of both types of selves. Cross-cultural research in
the past showed the emergence of these two distinct self-construal patterns across cultures.
61
Culture,
Gender
and
Self
The Individualism-Collectivism Continuum
• More comparative work in this area mostly from countries like the USA, Japan and others
led to the formation of dichotomous self-patterns on the individualism-collectivism
continuum.
• This led to further debate about whether the individualistic and collectivistic cultures (and
the two self-construals) were diametrically opposite to one another. Later research showed
that the independent and interdependent selves were not opposite to one another.
• Not all westerners were individualistic always and all easterners were collectivistic always.
• Rather, one kind of self (or its characteristics), generally, was found to be associated more with
certain cultures.
• Countries like India showed a mixed pattern of both independent and interdependent self or both
aspects of individualism and collectivism.
• At the same time, the Indian self was considered to be extremely context-sensitive.
62
Culture,
Gender
and
Self
The Feminist View of Self
• Feminist scholars have argued against the western, stereotypical notion of an
individualistic, autonomous self which underplays the role of relationships and
connections with others as an obstacle to self-development.
• They believe that women have alternative pathways of self-development which are
more relational, interdependent and care-oriented.
• With specific reference to the Indian self, others (immediate family members,
children) play a significant role in Indian women’s self-construction.
• Adhering to traditional gender roles and fulfilling familial obligations are important
components of their own selfhood, and inability to ‘fit in’ results in concerns about their own
wellbeing and self-esteem.
• The contemporary scenario in India brings out many new trends for women who are
educated and employed and those who are managing households.
c
Contents
1. Self, Identity and Personality
2. Theoretical Perspectives About Self
3. Correlates of the Self
4. Culture, Gender and Self
5. Indian Perspectives on Self
Understanding
of
Self
Super-Notes
63
Indian Perspectives on Self
64
Indian
Perspectives
on
Self
Ideas about the self in the Indian tradition are constructed from a variety of sources
including spirituality, religion and folk psychology. Here we look at these along
with the research-based view:
1
Religious-Spiritual
Perspective
2
Empirical Perspective
Next
Religious-Spiritual Perspective
65
Indian
Perspectives
on
Self
>>
Religious-Spiritual
Perspective
• Nonmaterial or spiritual as well as empirical aspects are included in the Indian concept of self.
• Atman is transcendental in nature - represents the conscious selfhood.
• Ahamkara - the source of all problems.
• Beliefs about karma (past, present and future) significantly influence the concept of self in
India, giving it an unending, continuous and immutable characteristic.
• Religious texts like the Bhagavad Gita also mention the self as an indestructible entity which has
no beginning and no end like time or consciousness itself.
• Many Buddhist ideas about the self, link the concept of selflessness or no-self to explain the
nature of selfhood.
Self
(Indian Context)
a “deeper inner consciousness that identifies the individual with the entire
universe or cosmos” (Misra, Akoijom & Misra, 2009)
Religious-Spiritual Perspective: Taitraiya Upanishad
66
Indian
Perspectives
on
Self
>>
Religious-Spiritual
Perspective
Taitraiya Upanishad explains that the self has five sheaths or layers (kosha)
nested into one another:
1. Annamayakosha: physical body created due to the food we
consume.
2. Pranamayakosha: consists of life and includes breathing and other
functional organs and systems of the body.
3. Manomayakosha: involves the sense organs and ego related
personal involvements.
4. Vigyanamayakosha: represents cognition or intellect.
5. Anandamayakosha: represents a joyous state of selfhood which
experiences bliss.
The gunas or the properties of
nature like satva, rajas and
tamas also constitute and
influence the self, creating
different personality types
like a rajasic personality or a
tamasic personality.
Indian Perspectives on Self
67
Indian
Perspectives
on
Self
Ideas about the self in the Indian tradition are constructed from a variety of sources
including spirituality, religion and folk psychology. Here we look at these along
with the research-based view:
1
Religious-Spiritual
Perspective
2
Empirical Perspective
Next
68
Indian
Perspectives
on
Self
>>
Empirical
Perspective
The Allocentric Self
• Apart from the religious-spiritual explanations of the self, there are other empirical
characteristics of the Indian self that have surfaced in pertinent research studies.
• Ramanujan (1990) has called the Hindu self ‘allocentric.’
• The focus of our self is on others’ reactions and perceptions about us.
• Many of our actions are guided by ‘what people will say’ (log kya kahenge) or what others
will think of us on the basis of how they will interpret our actions (log hamare bare mein
kya sochenge).
Allocentric
Self
the self is to a large extent determined by how others view you.
69
Indian
Perspectives
on
Self
>>
Empirical
Perspective
Other Traits of the Indian Self
Cross-cultural comparisons have brought forth other traits of the Indian self:
• The most prominent one is that the Indian self is highly context sensitive and many of its actions and
thoughts are dependent on the immediate social and interpersonal context.
• Responses are in line with the desh (place), kaal (time) and patra (person) involved in any social situation.
• Indologists like Marriott have called the Indian self a ‘dividual self’ or divisible self, not an individual.
• Other psychologists like Roland have called the Indian self a spiritual and ‘familial self’ because of the
primacy and significance attached to the immediate family and the extended network of caste and kin in
the construction of personhood.
• Due to these reasons, many times the Indian self is categorized as a collective self.
• However, recent research on the Indian self, brought out newer categories which include a mix of
individualistic and collectivistic characteristics. Indian self can be categorized as an ‘encompassing
self’ which is embedded in relationships and extends beyond the person.
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Understanding of Self - Applied Social Psychology - Psychology SuperNotes

  • 1. Understanding of Self Applied Social Psychology By M.S. Ahluwalia Psychology SuperNotes 1
  • 2. How to use this document? 2 Psychology Super-Notes Use this as a Reference Book Take a Printout or Save on your PC/phone Study while preparing & Revise before the exam.
  • 3. © 2024, PsychoTech Services Trademarks ‘Super-Notes’, ‘All About’, ‘Psychology Learners’, ‘PsyLearners’, ‘M S Ahluwalia’, ‘PsychoTech Services’, ‘Real Happiness Center’, ‘FREE IGNOU Help Center’, ‘FIHC’ and the msa logo, the PsyLearners logo, FIHC logo, Star and Starji logos for Real Happiness Center and PsychoTech Services logo are trademarks of M S Ahluwalia in India and other countries, and may not be used without explicit written permission. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. PsychoTech Services and the owners thereof, are not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. Limit of liability/disclaimer of warranty The publisher and the author make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this work and specifically disclaim all warranties, including without limitation warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. This book should not be used as a replacement of expert opinion. No warranty may be created or extended by sales or promotional materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If professional assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for damages arising herefrom. The fact that an organization or website is referred to in this work as a citation and/or a potential source of further information does not mean that the author or the publisher endorses the information the organization or website may provide or recommendations it may make. Further, readers should be aware that internet websites listed in this work may have changed or disappeared between when this work was written and when it is read. This document was prepared with the intent of helping students. Students are advised to be careful while using this. There may be errors in the analysis/document considering it has not undergone peer review. In case you notice any errors or have any suggestions for the improvement of this document, you can leave a detailed comment on the respective page on our site or other channel from where you got access to the document. For general information on our other publications or for any kind of support or further information, you may visit our website. Disclaimer 3 Psychology Super-Notes
  • 5. Click here to Access Now! Click here to Access Now! A proprietary approach developed by bringing together the best of learning theories from Psychology, design principles from the world of visualization, and pedagogical methods from over a decade of training experience, that enables you to: Learn better, faster! Super-Notes A proprietary approach developed by bringing together the best of learning theories from Psychology, design principles from the world of visualization, and pedagogical methods from over a decade of training experience, that enables you to: Learn better, faster! Super-Notes 5
  • 6. Psychology made easy and interesting… 6 Psychology Super-Notes PsyConcepts PsyQuotes PsyTemplates Memes that help you understand and remember complicated concepts. PsyConcepts Quotes complete with contextual explanations to help understand the real meaning PsyQuotes Checklists and templates for a professional look, that also reduce errors PsyTemplates
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  • 8. We are here to help you! If you are a faculty or student of psychology, this document may be just what you need! Universities often have a vast syllabus, and there is limited support from the faculty and university. But, the exams are tough. Unfortunately, students often don’t get sufficient support for their exams. We at PsychoTech Services have launched several efforts to help psychology students – if you haven’t visited our site yet, now might be the right time – Click Here! Look for PsyConcepts, PsyQuotes, guidance for solving the assignments, practicals, projects, and internships, our highly accurate ‘Exam Question Pattern Analysis’, and PsyTemplates - to make your submissions look more professional and high quality. Also, remember, your exams will test both your knowledge and your ability to present the answers well. So work on both these aspects – read this for some very useful tips on How to Score More in your Exams! We hope that all the resources we have created for you will help you to complete your course requirements successfully! Good Luck!!! 8 Psychology Super-Notes
  • 9. Super-Notes Super-Notes ychoTech Services PsychoTech Services Psychology Learners Psychology Learners FREE IGNOU Help Center FREE IGNOU Help Center The Real Happiness Center The Real Happiness Center 9 Let’s Start…
  • 10. c Contents 1. Self, Identity and Personality 2. Theoretical Perspectives About Self 3. Correlates of the Self 4. Culture, Gender and Self 5. Indian Perspectives on Self Understanding of Self Super-Notes 10
  • 11. The Evolution of Self 11 Self, Identity and Personality >> The Evolution of Self • According to Sedikides & Skowronski (1997), the evolution of self, led to better adaptation. In the course of evolution, human beings began to have increasing levels of self-awareness, that is, the ability to be aware of one’s self or one’s existence in the environment around oneself. • This happened in three phases across species: • In our everyday life all three types of self-awareness are used. 1 Subjective Self-Awareness 2 Objective Self-Awareness 3 Symbolic Self-Awareness
  • 12. 1. Subjective Self-Awareness 12 Self, Identity and Personality >> The Evolution of Self First, subjective self-awareness came into existence: • We understand that we are physically separate from other people and other things that surround us. • We know that we are not part of the chair we are sitting on or the table on which we are writing. • Plants do not have the capacity to make this separation or express it like humans. Subjective Self-awareness the awareness that the self is separate and distinct from other objects and beings in one’s environment.
  • 13. 2. Objective Self-Awareness 13 Self, Identity and Personality >> The Evolution of Self • The person can concentrate on one’s self and think about oneself. • Apes and human beings developed this ability. • When we see ourselves in the mirror, or think about our interests or our health, we are being objectively self-aware. Objective Self-awareness the awareness that the self can be an object of its own attention, that the person “knows that s/he knows” or “remembers that s/he remembers”.
  • 14. 3. Symbolic Self-Awareness 14 Self, Identity and Personality >> The Evolution of Self • Humans finally developed the ability to express themselves through language and thought. • They used language to communicate their own thoughts with themselves as well as with others around them. • As humans are evolutionarily advanced, endowed with intellect and have created culture, they are the only species who are symbolically self-aware. • We use many different forms and symbols to express our desires, our thoughts and our feelings. So, the self finds expression through language, poetry, art forms, dance, and drama. Symbolic Self-awareness awareness and ability to use symbols and language to represent themselves.
  • 15. Difference between Self, Identity, and Personality 15 Self, Identity and Personality >> What’s the difference? All three – self, identity and personality - are used to explain human agency. 1 Personality • Personality is a psychological concept • It refers to an individual’s unique and relatively stable patterns of thoughts, behaviours and feelings. 2 Self • The self refers to personal and experiential aspects of living • It is characterized by ‘inner’ attributes and explanations within a person. 3 Identity • Identity is closer to the social and the observable • It refers to the more ‘outer’ aspects of being perceived as a person. Human Agency includes ideas associated with being human - our intentions, willingness and behaviours.
  • 16. Difference between Self, Identity, and Personality 16 Self, Identity and Personality >> What’s the difference? Personality • Personality can be assessed and explained in terms of some salient features and attributes that one possesses like being talkative or shy. • Psychologists have identified five central dimensions or the ‘Big Five’ of personality which include extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience. Self • The self includes being aware about one’s physical body as well as psychological boundaries of one’s self from other selves, including categories like descendants and ancestors. • The self feels responsible for one’s own actions (some of the times) and can also hold others responsible for theirs. • Different notions of the self, like decontextualized, autonomous, independent or contextualized, relational, interdependent are held to explain the interface of the self with its external context. Identity • Identity depends on the social context of behaviour and at a given point of time; one could hold many salient identities. • Example: if you are travelling alone to a secluded area, your gender identity as a man or woman may become salient with reference to issues of safety. Similarly, social class and caste identities become salient with reference to some practices like eating and dressing.
  • 17. Collective Identity and the Self 17 Self, Identity and Personality >> What’s the difference? • Identity becomes more complex with reference to group or collective membership. • Example: identity as a Gujarati or Punjabi or a Hindu or a Muslim is different from your professional identity as a doctor or a lawyer. • In a culturally diverse country like India, factors like caste, religion, region and language related identities influence the self in significant ways. • On one hand, these identities integrate with the self and create social diversity. • On the other hand, these very factors may become reasons for social and political upheavals in the country from time to time. • Thus, collective identities play a very important role in understanding the self in a social context, especially with reference to social stigma and issues of marginalization.
  • 18. c Contents 1. Self, Identity and Personality 2. Theoretical Perspectives About Self 3. Correlates of the Self 4. Culture, Gender and Self 5. Indian Perspectives on Self Understanding of Self Super-Notes 18
  • 19. Theoretical Perspectives about the Self 19 Theoretical Perspectives About Self William James in The Principles of Psychology (1890) described the self as the material self, the social self, the spiritual self and the pure ego. This was followed by other theoretical perspectives which explain the self, as a psychological entity: 1 Psychoanalytic Perspective • Sigmund Freud’s Theory of Psychosexual Development 2 Humanistic Perspective • Carl Roger’s Self Theory • Abraham Maslow’s Self-Actualisation Theory 3 Social Learning Perspective • Skinner’s Learning Theory • Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory 4 Developmental Perspective • Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory • James Marcia’s Identity Status Theory Next
  • 20. Psychoanalytic Theories 20 Theoretical Perspectives About Self >> Psychoanalytic Perspective • Psychoanalytic explanations of self and personality highlight intrapsychic (internal, within the person) processes. • Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychosexual development refers to the development of personality through structures of id, ego and super ego. • With reference to the self, Freud explained many types of personalities like the anal or compulsive personality with typical behaviours of being overly possessive of things and people or being overly organized and concerned with cleanliness. • Freud emphasized that our instinctual, bestial tendencies need to be controlled and explained the struggle between the ego and the id. • The theory not only explained normal behaviours, but also broadened the realm of the self to include areas other than the conscious and accessible.
  • 21. The Three Realms of the Human Mind 21 Theoretical Perspectives About Self >> Psychoanalytic Perspective Freud believed that the mind was governed by three realms: 1 The Conscious • Forms a small part of our mind • Concerned with immediate thinking or present experiences. 2 The Preconscious • Bigger than the conscious • Contains memories which may not be part of current thinking but can be readily recollected, if need be. 3 The Unconscious • Biggest and the most crucial realm that lay beneath the conscious and the preconscious, • Includes our thoughts, desires and impulses about which we are largely unaware. The unconscious is full of repressed thoughts that were considered anxiety provoking and thus, pushed away into this inaccessible realm. Freud explained many neurotic and behavioural disorders by interpreting the unconscious.
  • 22. Theoretical Perspectives about the Self 22 Theoretical Perspectives About Self William James in The Principles of Psychology (1890) described the self as the material self, the social self, the spiritual self and the pure ego. This was followed by other theoretical perspectives which explain the self, as a psychological entity: 1 Psychoanalytic Perspective • Sigmund Freud’s Theory of Psychosexual Development 2 Humanistic Perspective • Carl Roger’s Self Theory • Abraham Maslow’s Self-Actualisation Theory 3 Social Learning Perspective • Skinner’s Learning Theory • Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory 4 Developmental Perspective • Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory • James Marcia’s Identity Status Theory Next
  • 23. Abraham Maslow’s Self-actualization theory 23 Theoretical Perspectives About Self >> Humanistic Perspective • Based on the study of psychologically healthy people, who reach their maximum human potential through peak experiences. • Giving a hierarchy of needs, Maslow says that if lower order needs like food and safety are fulfilled, then a person moves to achieve higher order needs like intellectual innovations, self-expression and creativity. • He believed that self-actualized people look at the positive aspects of life and are seldom bothered by problems of everyday life like boredom. Humanistic theorists disagreed with Freud on his assumption about human nature. These theorists believed in the positive and constructive human strivings for growth, dignity and self-determination.
  • 24. Carl Roger’s Self Theory 24 Theoretical Perspectives About Self >> Humanistic Perspective States that: • Poorly adjusted selves have little overlap between their self-concept and their experiences. In order to fulfil the expectations, they have to distort their real self. • Well-adjusted individuals experience more overlap between their immediate experiences and their self-concepts, so they can behave the way they really are. • Example: • If a short tempered (part of self-concept) person is expected to control his anger and behave in a calm and composed manner, he will experience frustration because of inability to express his true feelings. He may withdraw from social situations or be unable to control his rage, leading to maladjustment. • If a person is good at academics and is supported and encouraged to do well in school, there is a better fit between what he actually is and what he is expected to do. This leads to better personal growth.
  • 25. Theoretical Perspectives about the Self 25 Theoretical Perspectives About Self William James in The Principles of Psychology (1890) described the self as the material self, the social self, the spiritual self and the pure ego. This was followed by other theoretical perspectives which explain the self, as a psychological entity: 1 Psychoanalytic Perspective • Sigmund Freud’s Theory of Psychosexual Development 2 Humanistic Perspective • Carl Roger’s Self Theory • Abraham Maslow’s Self-Actualisation Theory 3 Social Learning Perspective • Skinner’s Learning Theory • Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory 4 Developmental Perspective • Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory • James Marcia’s Identity Status Theory Next
  • 26. Skinner’s Learning Theory 26 Theoretical Perspectives About Self >> Social Learning Perspective • Unlike Freudian perspectives, the early social learning theorists like B. F. Skinner highlighted the role of external, environmental factors and learning processes in the development of self and personality. • However, with more research it was established that biological and internal factors like cognition, interact with environmental factors and reinforcement strategies (rewards, punishments) to produce consistency in behaviour.
  • 27. Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory 27 Theoretical Perspectives About Self >> Social Learning Perspective • This theory explains the self-system, which consists of cognitive processes by which a person perceives, evaluates and regulates his own behaviour. • Through his theory, Bandura brought to light unique human capacities like: • Self-regulation - the capacity to regulate and control one’s actions with reference to their consequences • Self-reinforcement - the capacity to reward themselves when goals set by the self are achieved. • Example: • When we participate in a marathon or prepare for an exam, everyone has different goals. Some may want to just finish the race or pass the exam; others may want to win the race or achieve a high percentage of marks. • Each person, depending on his goals, will congratulate and encourage himself for moving to higher goals. They consciously regulate, monitor their behaviour and efforts to achieve their goals like changing their strategies of preparation or practising for longer times or overcoming their identified weaknesses.
  • 28. Theoretical Perspectives about the Self 28 Theoretical Perspectives About Self William James in The Principles of Psychology (1890) described the self as the material self, the social self, the spiritual self and the pure ego. This was followed by other theoretical perspectives which explain the self, as a psychological entity: 1 Psychoanalytic Perspective • Sigmund Freud’s Theory of Psychosexual Development 2 Humanistic Perspective • Carl Roger’s Self Theory • Abraham Maslow’s Self-Actualisation Theory 3 Social Learning Perspective • Skinner’s Learning Theory • Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory 4 Developmental Perspective • Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory • James Marcia’s Identity Status Theory Next
  • 29. Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory 29 Theoretical Perspectives About Self >> Developmental Perspective • Developmental perspectives explain how the self develops at various life stages and what are the most influential factors that enable or hinder self-development. • Erik Erikson’s theory essentially explains self as a psychosocial entity and emphasizes that throughout the stages of the human lifespan, the individual is concerned about understanding and furthering one’s psychosocial identity. • This process is heightened during the stage of adolescence and young adulthood where an adolescent experiences identity crises and actively seeks to understand and establish his / her identity in the social world. • Erikson highlighted the role of culture in self-development: identity development takes places in response to socio-cultural expectations.
  • 30. Marcia’s Identity Status Theory (1/2) 30 Theoretical Perspectives About Self >> Developmental Perspective • James Marcia, a Canadian psychologist, furthered Erikson’s work on identity development in young adulthood. • Depending on whether adolescents have explored alternative selves or not, Marcia came up with four identity patterns which young adults were likely to experience. • Like Erikson, Marcia concentrated on crises and commitments experienced by young adults in the areas like career choice, politics and religious views. • These in turn determined their identity status.
  • 31. Marcia’s Identity Status Theory (2/2) 31 Theoretical Perspectives About Self >> Developmental Perspective • Identity Status’ identified were: Identity Diffusion • where adolescents have not experienced the identity crises. • This means they have not explored their own choices or preferences seriously. • They have not experienced a crisis which requires them to choose or explore various alternative selves. Identity Moratorium • where adolescents are still searching for an identity. • They are in the process of finding themselves, their priorities, and their goals. • They may be trying out different alternative selves by doing different jobs or studying various courses. Identity Foreclosure • where adolescents have chosen an identity suggested by parents or other authority figures. • If parents think that the adolescent should become a doctor or an engineer, the adolescent just follows the parent’s goals set for them, without questioning what they really want. Identity Achievement • where adolescents have resolved the identity crises and shown commitment to a clear alternative. • They have explored various roles and interests and identified what they like or shown preference for some alternatives more than others.
  • 32. c Contents 1. Self, Identity and Personality 2. Theoretical Perspectives About Self 3. Correlates of the Self 4. Culture, Gender and Self 5. Indian Perspectives on Self Understanding of Self Super-Notes 32
  • 33. Correlates of the Self 33 Correlates of the Self Correlates of the Self Self- Concept Self-Schema Self- Reference Effect Self-Esteem Self- Functioning Next
  • 34. Self-Concept 34 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Concept • Self-concept is about a person’s strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, interests and much more. It includes: • Peripheral Aspects: those qualities or abilities that are distant from the real self and are less likely to be associated with the person. • Central Aspects of one’s self-concept: those qualities or abilities that are closer to the real self and are more likely to be used to describe the person’s strengths, abilities or weaknesses. • Example: if you’re a friendly and fun-loving person in most situations, that’s a central aspect of your self- concept. • This is because the characteristic of being friendly and fun loving describes you best as a person. At the same time, it is a consistent characteristic, true about you in most situations. • If you are not good at painting then your description as a painter does not describe you as a person adequately. So, even if you can paint, you may not be known (or want to be known) as a painter. This is thus, a peripheral aspect of your self- concept. Self-Concept an organized collection of beliefs, attitudes and values about the self.
  • 35. Self-Concept responds to Social Influences and Life Events 35 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Concept It: • Changes with age because of the different social and environmental demands made on us from time to time. • Affected by the feedback we get from others, especially when what people believe about us, is inconsistent with our own self beliefs. • Positive and negative life events like the birth of a child, a promotion or the death of a parent or spouse can affect our self-concept. • Our profession or jobs we hold from time to time also bring changes in our self- concept as our roles and responsibilities change in accordance with our work.
  • 36. Self-Concept in India 36 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Concept • Research in India shows that: • Parental warmth and child centeredness promotes positive self-concept among children. • Lower socioeconomic or marginalized societal status may not negatively affect self- concept. • Comparative researches with these specific social groups show mixed results. • Socioeconomic factors may or may not have a profound negative effect. • In fact, some researches show children and adolescents from these vulnerable groups have an equal or higher emotional and moral self-concept.
  • 37. Correlates of the Self 37 Correlates of the Self Correlates of the Self Self- Concept Self-Schema Self- Reference Effect Self-Esteem Self- Functioning Next
  • 38. Self-Schema 38 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Schema • With the help of a self-schema, a person can make comparisons about how she was in the past with how she is now and what expected changes she will undergo in future. • Self-schemas guide our present behaviour for future outcomes. • Example: if you want to lose weight, then you know how you look now (fat or overweight) and how you would like to look in future (leaner and slimmer than now). • The same is true for behavioural expectations from the self also. Example: if I want to be more social and friendly than I am now; I will have to make new friends, I will have to meet new people and socialize in unfamiliar groups. Self-Schema includes everything related to the past, present and future of the self. It is everything a person remembers, knows and can imagine about oneself.
  • 39. Correlates of the Self 39 Correlates of the Self Correlates of the Self Self- Concept Self-Schema Self- Reference Effect Self-Esteem Self- Functioning Next
  • 40. Self-Reference Effect 40 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Reference Effect • The self is the centre of a person’s social world. • As self-schemas are very well developed, we process self-relevant information better than anything else. • Self-relevant information like our last names, our birthdays, the first alphabet of our name become important for us and we pay more attention in processing such information. • We also remember such information better than other things. • Example: if someone shares the same birth year or birthdate as our own, we tend to remember that person better than others. The same thing is true if we share the same names or belong to same cities. Self-Reference when the self becomes the source of reference and has an effect on our attention and memory.
  • 41. Correlates of the Self 41 Correlates of the Self Correlates of the Self Self- Concept Self-Schema Self- Reference Effect Self-Esteem Self- Functioning Next
  • 42. Self-Esteem 42 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Esteem • A person can have high self-esteem or low self-esteem, depending on how s/he evaluates her/his abilities and her/his own self-worth. • People with high self-esteem tend to be confident of their abilities and feel good and worthy about themselves. • People with low self-esteem generally are introverted, feel less confident and feel something is lacking in themselves. Self-Esteem is an evaluation of oneself.
  • 43. Social Comparison 43 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Esteem • It is of two types: • Upward Social Comparison • Downward Social Comparison • Upward and downward social comparison have differing effects on our self- esteem depending on: • Our own attributes and • Our evaluation of them • Our evaluation of the group with which we are making a comparison. Social Comparison People compare themselves with other members of a group or society in order to measure their own capabilities.
  • 44. Social Comparison – Upward vs. Downward 44 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Esteem Downward Social Comparison • When people compare themselves with others who are “worse off” than their own self, they feel good about themselves. • Example: if someone gets less marks than you, you feel good about your performance on the test. • Downward social comparisons with strangers and peers or even in groups generally lead to higher self-esteem. • But when you downwardly compare yourself with a family member, it may lower your self- esteem. So, if your brother gets less marks than you or if your sister is obese, then your self-esteem declines due to their characteristics and your association with them. Upward Social Comparison • When people compare themselves with others who are “better off” than their own self. • When you compare yourself with a stranger who is more beautiful than you are, it may not have any effect. But if your friend is more beautiful than you are, it may lead to a decline in your self-esteem. • Similarly, if your mother is more beautiful than you, or your brother gets a prestigious award, your self-esteem goes up as you are associated with them.
  • 45. Paradoxical Self-Esteem 45 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Esteem • When our thinking about ourselves is unrealistically high or low, we have paradoxical self-esteem. • Paradoxical self-esteem is a very relative idea, which means it depends to a great extent on who is making the judgement about you. • Experts may have very strict judgements about performance as compared to family members or friends. • However, research shows that having a higher or positive estimation of self (than what is actual) can temporarily benefit a person’s mental health. Paradoxical Self-Esteem When our actual competence does not match our self-evaluation, the inconsistency results in a paradoxical self-esteem.
  • 46. Paradoxical Self-Esteem – Case Example 46 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Esteem • Suppose Annie considers herself a very good painter, her painting abilities (according to her) give her high self-esteem. • However, when her paintings are reviewed by others, they do not find them good and they think she is not that good a painter. • In this case, professional painters and artists may have a stricter (more objective) opinion about her paintings than people she knows well, like her friends or family (who may have subjective opinions). • This leads to a paradoxical (confusing or contradictory) self-esteem for Reena, where her beliefs about herself are unrealistically high and not supported by what others think about her. • The same may happen when we think too lowly of ourselves with reference to some skills or abilities. Example: thinking that I am not so beautiful or I am really bad at mathematics.
  • 47. Correlates of the Self 47 Correlates of the Self Correlates of the Self Self- Concept Self-Schema Self- Reference Effect Self-Esteem Self- Functioning Next
  • 48. Self-Functioning 48 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Functioning Self-functioning comprises of three components: Self- Focussing Self- Monitoring Self- Efficacy Self- Functioning
  • 49. 1. Self-Focussing 49 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Functioning • We self-focus more when a mirror is put in front of us or when we are under someone’s observation. • Similarly, when someone instructs us to ‘do as directed’, say describe what you see out of a window, our focus of attention shifts from ourselves to the external world. • Self-focussing increases during adolescence and can considerably vary from person to person in the adult years. • Too much self-focus or too much external focus can both be problematic. Thus, a person needs to focus appropriately. This needs self-regulation. Self-Focussing act of diverting attention towards oneself as opposed to one’s surroundings. The ability to focus inward on one’s self, away from the external environment.
  • 50. Self-Regulation 50 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Functioning • Through self-regulation, we reflect or introspect on past actions and events. • Example: if you are thinking about why you had an argument with your mother last week over something trivial, you are self-focussing on your behaviour and whether what you did was appropriate or not. Self- Regulation ability of controlling one’s thoughts and consequently the area of focus.
  • 51. 2. Self-Monitoring 51 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Functioning High Self-Monitoring People • People who change their behaviour based on external cues. • They are not consistent in their behaviour and change according to what others or the external situation expects or demands. • Example: if others do not appreciate your laughing out loudly or your accent, you make efforts to change and fit into what others expect, irrespective of how difficult it may be for you to make this adjustment. Low Self-Monitoring People • People who behave consistently and in line with their internal cues. • They remain consistent and stable (true to their beliefs) in varied circumstances. • Example: if you are comfortable with your style of dressing, you will continue to wear what you wear, irrespective of what others say. Or if you are an honest and truthful person, even if there is no one watching over you, you will not steal or cheat. Self- Monitoring Human tendency to regulate and monitor own behaviour. Extremely high self-monitors and extremely low self-monitors are both less well-adjusted in social situations. Thus, it is best to maintain a golden mean or a middle range of self-monitoring.
  • 52. Internal and External Cues 52 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Functioning External Cues include how others react to our actions. Internal Cues include our beliefs, attitudes and values on the basis of which we act.
  • 53. 3. Self-Efficacy (1/2) 53 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Functioning • Self-efficacious people: • are confident of their performance, • can regulate their behaviour to achieve their set goals and also • overcome barriers in the process of achieving their goals. • Self-efficacy helps us to decide what we are good at and in a systematic, step by step manner, helps us achieve our goals. • Self-efficacious people have more clarity about tasks that they can achieve or fulfil and those that they cannot. • This helps them to allocate their resources and time in a better manner to tasks that they are confident of solving rather than those which they know they will not be able to solve. • Example: Ram knows he cannot dance very well. So, he decides to participate in the singing competition, rather than the dance competition. He is confident of his ability to sing or learn a new song and perform before an audience. Thus, he concentrates on winning the singing competition by practicing more everyday than trying to learn how to dance! Self-Efficacy person’s belief in her/his own ability to achieve some goals set by her/him.
  • 54. 3. Self-Efficacy (2/2) 54 Correlates of the Self >> Self-Functioning • Collective self-efficacy: • a group feels sure about its performance or its ability to achieve a goal. • Example: a cricket team or sales department. • When members of a group are self-efficacious, the group performs better, otherwise it becomes apathetic and each member starts believing that things will not change or that goals are set too high. • Self-efficacy can be improved by intervention: • This means that your belief in your own abilities can be enhanced if others show faith in you and take you from one level to another, higher level of performance. • Positive feedback and encouragement can enhance self-efficacy. Good teachers or mentors generally enhance the student’s self-efficacy. • If self-efficacy is enhanced in certain areas, adolescents are able to show resistance to peer pressure and also have sustained and fruitful social relationships.
  • 55. c Contents 1. Self, Identity and Personality 2. Theoretical Perspectives About Self 3. Correlates of the Self 4. Culture, Gender and Self 5. Indian Perspectives on Self Understanding of Self Super-Notes 55
  • 56. Impact of Culture on Self 56 Culture, Gender and Self • Culture is a pervasive category – it is ever present and influences all aspects of human functioning in subtle ways. • Culture is a shared way of life, shared meanings associated with everyday events, activities, artifacts and social symbols. • Language is a significant part of culture and necessary for cultural continuity. • Culture as a concept includes continuity and change in its very nature: • Like genetic or biological continuity, cultures also propagate themselves over generations, through individuals and groups, by continuing certain practices and beliefs related to them. • Cultures are also highly dynamic - they respond to changing environmental demands and conditions and reinvent themselves. • It becomes necessary to situate individual selves in this ever changing and dynamic background of culture to understand the complex nature of self. • Cultural psychologists suggest that culture and self (or psyche) are inseparable and co-constitute each other. • Thus, when cultures continue, selves continue and when cultures change, these changes are evident in the self- construal also. • Self-construal and understanding may differ across cultures.
  • 57. Gender, Culture and Self 57 Culture, Gender and Self • Gender also plays an important role in a person’s self-construal with reference to specific cultural contexts. Both culture and gender thus, become important influencers and determinants of the constituents of the self. • Gender based norms of behaviour, gender stereotypes and gender identity, all have roots in particular cultural ideologies. • It is also important to note that most cultures in the world are predominantly patriarchal in nature and thus, reinforce traditional gender norms and stereotypes that differentiate between men and women on many issues, mainly division of labour and status in family and society. • So, cultures more often than not, reinstate beliefs like women are supposed to care for families and bear children, while men go out to earn. • Other gender-stereotypical beliefs may include that men are physically stronger and can make better decisions while women are emotionally stronger and cannot make rational decisions.
  • 58. Development of Gender Identity 58 Culture, Gender and Self • As many of the gender-stereotypical beliefs are socially constructed, boys and girls are exposed to them early on in life and thus, these become inseparable parts of their gender socialization and eventually, gender identity. • Gender identity, which starts developing by age two, involves a person’s identification as male or female. • By age four to seven, children start showing gender consistency: they understand that gender is a constant and basic attribute of each person. • Once these beliefs about gender consistency are established, later perceptions about gender stereotypes depend on what we are taught about gender. • This leads to sex typing, where as children grow older, they understand “correct” male and female behaviour as per their own culture.
  • 59. Gender Schema Theory 59 Culture, Gender and Self • Children learn about gender mainly from role models like parents and teachers. Thus, it is very important to have balanced, gender equitable role models before the child, rather than models which send out gender biased messages like ‘women are weaker, less capable’, or ‘boys are brave and so should not cry’. • On the other hand, tribal societies may have very different gender stereotypes and role models (mostly, more gender equal and less patriarchal) which are applicable in their own cultural context but very different from the mainstream. • Thus, a variety of gender-based perceptions may develop and vary according to cultural diversity. Gender Schema Theory children have an inherent readiness to organize all information about the self on the basis of what their culture prescribes as appropriate male and female attributes.
  • 60. Autonomous vs. Relational Self 60 Culture, Gender and Self The self is explained in recent psychological literature mainly through two broad perspectives: Self as independent, autonomous and bounded • This perspective understands the self as a decontextualized entity, mechanical and individualistic in nature. • It refers to the self, independent of its context. • Essentially found in post-industrialized individualistic western cultures. Self as interdependent, relational and unbounded • The self as an unbounded and contextualized entity has permeable borders and is socially constituted. • This self has social origins and is mainly relational and collectivistic in nature. • Found mostly in collectivistic eastern cultures. Given this broad categorization, different cultures show preference for one or the other kind of self and many times even a mix of both types of selves. Cross-cultural research in the past showed the emergence of these two distinct self-construal patterns across cultures.
  • 61. 61 Culture, Gender and Self The Individualism-Collectivism Continuum • More comparative work in this area mostly from countries like the USA, Japan and others led to the formation of dichotomous self-patterns on the individualism-collectivism continuum. • This led to further debate about whether the individualistic and collectivistic cultures (and the two self-construals) were diametrically opposite to one another. Later research showed that the independent and interdependent selves were not opposite to one another. • Not all westerners were individualistic always and all easterners were collectivistic always. • Rather, one kind of self (or its characteristics), generally, was found to be associated more with certain cultures. • Countries like India showed a mixed pattern of both independent and interdependent self or both aspects of individualism and collectivism. • At the same time, the Indian self was considered to be extremely context-sensitive.
  • 62. 62 Culture, Gender and Self The Feminist View of Self • Feminist scholars have argued against the western, stereotypical notion of an individualistic, autonomous self which underplays the role of relationships and connections with others as an obstacle to self-development. • They believe that women have alternative pathways of self-development which are more relational, interdependent and care-oriented. • With specific reference to the Indian self, others (immediate family members, children) play a significant role in Indian women’s self-construction. • Adhering to traditional gender roles and fulfilling familial obligations are important components of their own selfhood, and inability to ‘fit in’ results in concerns about their own wellbeing and self-esteem. • The contemporary scenario in India brings out many new trends for women who are educated and employed and those who are managing households.
  • 63. c Contents 1. Self, Identity and Personality 2. Theoretical Perspectives About Self 3. Correlates of the Self 4. Culture, Gender and Self 5. Indian Perspectives on Self Understanding of Self Super-Notes 63
  • 64. Indian Perspectives on Self 64 Indian Perspectives on Self Ideas about the self in the Indian tradition are constructed from a variety of sources including spirituality, religion and folk psychology. Here we look at these along with the research-based view: 1 Religious-Spiritual Perspective 2 Empirical Perspective Next
  • 65. Religious-Spiritual Perspective 65 Indian Perspectives on Self >> Religious-Spiritual Perspective • Nonmaterial or spiritual as well as empirical aspects are included in the Indian concept of self. • Atman is transcendental in nature - represents the conscious selfhood. • Ahamkara - the source of all problems. • Beliefs about karma (past, present and future) significantly influence the concept of self in India, giving it an unending, continuous and immutable characteristic. • Religious texts like the Bhagavad Gita also mention the self as an indestructible entity which has no beginning and no end like time or consciousness itself. • Many Buddhist ideas about the self, link the concept of selflessness or no-self to explain the nature of selfhood. Self (Indian Context) a “deeper inner consciousness that identifies the individual with the entire universe or cosmos” (Misra, Akoijom & Misra, 2009)
  • 66. Religious-Spiritual Perspective: Taitraiya Upanishad 66 Indian Perspectives on Self >> Religious-Spiritual Perspective Taitraiya Upanishad explains that the self has five sheaths or layers (kosha) nested into one another: 1. Annamayakosha: physical body created due to the food we consume. 2. Pranamayakosha: consists of life and includes breathing and other functional organs and systems of the body. 3. Manomayakosha: involves the sense organs and ego related personal involvements. 4. Vigyanamayakosha: represents cognition or intellect. 5. Anandamayakosha: represents a joyous state of selfhood which experiences bliss. The gunas or the properties of nature like satva, rajas and tamas also constitute and influence the self, creating different personality types like a rajasic personality or a tamasic personality.
  • 67. Indian Perspectives on Self 67 Indian Perspectives on Self Ideas about the self in the Indian tradition are constructed from a variety of sources including spirituality, religion and folk psychology. Here we look at these along with the research-based view: 1 Religious-Spiritual Perspective 2 Empirical Perspective Next
  • 68. 68 Indian Perspectives on Self >> Empirical Perspective The Allocentric Self • Apart from the religious-spiritual explanations of the self, there are other empirical characteristics of the Indian self that have surfaced in pertinent research studies. • Ramanujan (1990) has called the Hindu self ‘allocentric.’ • The focus of our self is on others’ reactions and perceptions about us. • Many of our actions are guided by ‘what people will say’ (log kya kahenge) or what others will think of us on the basis of how they will interpret our actions (log hamare bare mein kya sochenge). Allocentric Self the self is to a large extent determined by how others view you.
  • 69. 69 Indian Perspectives on Self >> Empirical Perspective Other Traits of the Indian Self Cross-cultural comparisons have brought forth other traits of the Indian self: • The most prominent one is that the Indian self is highly context sensitive and many of its actions and thoughts are dependent on the immediate social and interpersonal context. • Responses are in line with the desh (place), kaal (time) and patra (person) involved in any social situation. • Indologists like Marriott have called the Indian self a ‘dividual self’ or divisible self, not an individual. • Other psychologists like Roland have called the Indian self a spiritual and ‘familial self’ because of the primacy and significance attached to the immediate family and the extended network of caste and kin in the construction of personhood. • Due to these reasons, many times the Indian self is categorized as a collective self. • However, recent research on the Indian self, brought out newer categories which include a mix of individualistic and collectivistic characteristics. Indian self can be categorized as an ‘encompassing self’ which is embedded in relationships and extends beyond the person.
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