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Flashcards in Chapter 5 Deck (24)
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we use schemas to organize information about ourselves
- these schemas guide our behaviour and influence what we notice and remember about others and ourselves

- tend to look for memories that are consistent with the image we wish to portray


Self-concept and self-awareness

Self-concept: knowledge about who we are
Self-awareness: act of thinking about ourselves

self-recognition begins around age 2 (rouge test mirror)


Self-concept clarity

extent to which knowledge about the self is clearly and consistency defined

- increased neuroticism
- decreased self-esteem
- increased rumination
- stable self-concept is good; unstable = negative psychological consequences


Cultural differences in defining the self

- Western: independent view of self; higher self-concept calrity, linked to self-esteem
(Define self in terms of own opinions, values, feelings)

Collectivist societies: interdependent view of self; lower self-concept clarity, not linked to self-esteem


Gender differences

Men: independent view of self (ex: I am honest, carefree)

Women: relational interdependent view of self (ex: I am a sister, a good friend)

Differences exist mostly in individualistic cultures


Self-Awareness Theory

- When we focus attention on ourselves
1) we believe we are more transparent to others
2) evaluate our behaviour according to our values

We come to know ourselves through introspection (looking inward, self-examination)


When we encounter discrepancy

Turn to causal theories to account for one's behaviour
- learn the theories from culture

ex: I didn't get enough sleep, it's Friday the 13th, it's a full moon...


Effects of self-Awareness

- Keeps behaviour consistent with values
- can be aversive; alleviated through positive (religion) and negative (alcohol) escape


Cultural Differences in self-awareness

Western: insider perspective of the self
- lower in self-awareness

East asian: outsider perspective of the self
- higher in self-awareness

rate self when mirror is present
Results: americans were more dissatisfied when mirror present; east asians didn't change
also change cheating rates in Canadians when mirror is there


Self-Perception Theory

- When we are uncertain how we feel about something, we turn to our behaviour for answers - inferring who we are by the way we behave

- being reminded of past behaviour helps clarify our position on given issue
- we evaluate whether the behaviour was a free choice or extrinsically/intrinsically motivated


Overjustification Effect

- presence of extrinsic reward undermines intrinsic joy of activity, therefore decreasing behaviour
- the external cause is viewed as having greater influence on behaviour than the internal cause


Multiple selves

social relationships important role in our definition of self
- different "selves" for different social situations


Looking glass self

- idea that we see ourselves through eyes of other people and incorporate their views into our self-concept and behaviour (especially our significant other)
- STUDY: had people read an ‘x’ rated story – then asked if they liked it or not – depending if they were asked to think of someone who would be conservative (ex: father OR priest) or a more liberal person (like a best friend) results showed people who thought of conservative person didn’t enjoy, and vice versa
- STUDY: had people think of a person who is disapproving of them and ask themselves to describe themselves; they tend to be negative in their own self-evaluation; vice versa (basically priming which self is accessed)


Social comparison theory

- we learn about our abilities and attitudes by comparing ourselves to others
- tend to compare ourselves more when we don't know what the appropriate behaviour is
- compare ourselves to similar people


Downward social comparison

- When we compare ourselves to those who are worse than we are in a particular trait or ability
- OR when we compare current performance with inferior past performance
- Increases self-esteem and job satisfaction/commitment when we compare to people below us or overall life satisfaction
- Important that we don’t feel like we CAN be that person (ex: patient with stage 1 cancer who is doing well on treatment will feel better when comparing to a stage4 patient – but when things aren’t going well; it doesn’t work the same way) **vulnerable**


Upward social comparison

- Compare ourselves to someone who is better than us on a trait or ability
- Inspirational IF we are thinking of our usual self (because leaves room for growth or change)
- Deflating IF we are thinking of our best self (because we can’t get any better – we can’t be as good as who we are comparing with)
- Attainability is the key
- Difference:
a) Individualistic: people motivated by role models are something to aspire to (positive role models)
b) Collectivist: people motivated by negative role models (want to avoid what this person does)
- In couples: when they do better than you – it isn’t deflating


Self-discrepancy theory

- Distress when who we are is different from who we want to be
- Actual self: who we are
- Ideal self: who we want to be
- Ought self: Who we should be


Actual/Ideal discrepancy

- Dejection, sadness, dissatisfaction and depression
- Letting yourself down


Actual/Ought discrepancy

- Fear, worry, tension, and other anxiety related emotions
- Letting others down



- Can generate negative emotions


Coping with discrepancies

- Re-evaluate cause of discrepancy
- Alter behaviour to avoid future discrepancy
- Seek out social recognition (self-completion); redirecting focus onto something you’re good at


Self-Evaluation Maintenance theory

- self-concept threatened by someone else's performance
- Level of threat depends on
a) closeness of individual
b) personal relevance to skill

- Close friend + non relevant skill = basking in reflected glory
- Close friend + relevant skill = feel poorly
- Stranger + relevant skill= threat is low

- If we feel threatened by being outperformed by a friend in a relevant domain, we restore self-esteem by
- Distancing ourselves from person
- Improving our performance
- Reducing the relevance of the task



- Tendency to hold unrealistically positive views about ourselves in order to enhance self-esteem
- Western phenomenon: Asian cultures tend to hold negative view of themselves (self-effacement)
- Language of test can prime either self-enhancement or self-effacement tendencies
--> Read/answer in English or chinese (bilinguals)



Prefer the truth, even when it threatens our self-esteem
- Prefer views similar to our own, whether positive or negative; better to be known than to be overrated
- Need for truth depends on the dimension being evaluated and the evaluator
Can it be changed?
- If not, we don’t really want to know about it
- If yes, then we want honest feedback