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The Role of the Self

Capacity for self-reflection is necessary

for self-understanding
Private, inner self

Self is heavily influenced by social

Public, outer self

The ABCs of the Self

Affect: How do we evaluate ourselves,
enhance our self-images, and defend
against threats to our self-esteem?
Behavior: How do we regulate our
actions and present ourselves according
to interpersonal demands?
Cognition: How do we come to know
ourselves, develop a self-concept, and
maintain a stable sense of identity?

The Self-Concept
Self is an important object of our
Cocktail party effect.

Self-Concept: The sum total of beliefs

that people have about themselves.
Self-concept is made up of self-schemas.
Self-Schema: Beliefs about oneself that
guide processing of self-relevant

Rudiments of the Self-Concept

Except for human beings, only the great
apes seem capable of self-recognition.
Self-recognition is an important first step
in the development of a self-concept.
Social factors influence development of a
Looking-glass self
Self as relational

A View of Self
Self-perception: process by which
people develop a view of themselves
Develops from social interaction within
different groups, including groups
encountered on the Internet
Self-perception has three parts: selfconcept, self-esteem, self-presentation

A View of Self
Set of beliefs people have about themselves
View people hold of their personal qualities
and attributes
Factors affecting a person's self-concept
- Observations of behavior
- Recall of past significant events
- Effect of the surrounding social context

A View of Self
Observations of behavior
- People see their behavior, and their situation, in
the same way they see the behavior of other
- Person believes the behavior occurred
voluntarily: concludes the behavior happened
because of some personal quality or attribute

A View of Self
Observations of behavior
- People learn about themselves by comparing
themselves to other people with similar qualities
- Example: you may want to assess your abilities
to hold a supervisory position. You compare
yourself to people with backgrounds similar to
yours who have had recent promotions

Personality Theories
Learning theories
Learn behavior from social interaction with
other people
Young child: early family socialization
Continuously learn from social environment:
stable behavior forms the personality
Uniqueness of each personality follows from
variability in social experiences

Self evaluation

Self esteem is the evaluative and

affective component of self concept
Maslows Subsets of Esteem Needs:
1. Self-esteem (strength, achievement,
mastery, competence, ..)
2. Respect needs or the need for esteem
from others

Components of Self-Concept

Body image
Role performance

Interrelationship of Components
of Self-Concept

Components of Self-Concept
A sense of personal identity is what sets
one person apart as a unique individual.
Identity includes a persons name,
gender, ethnic identity, family status,
occupation, and roles.
Ones personal identity begins to develop
during childhood and is constantly
reinforced and modified throughout life.

Components of Self-Concept
Body image is an attitude about ones
physical attributes and characteristics,
appearance, and performance.
Body image is dynamic because any
change in body structure or function,
including the normal changes of growth
and development, can affect it.

Components of Self-Concept
Self-esteem is the judgment of personal
performance compared with the selfideal.
Self-esteem is derived from a sense of
giving and receiving love, and being
respected by others.

Components of Self-Concept
Role refers to a set of expected
behaviors determined by familial,
cultural, and social norms.
The level of self-esteem is dependent
upon the self-perception of adequate role
performance in these various social

Development of Self-Concept
Self-concept evolves throughout life and
depends to an extent on an individuals
developmental level.

Factors Affecting Self-Concept

Altered Health Status

Developmental considerations
Internal and external resources
History of success and failure

Self perception theory argues that people

examine two things when making
decisions about the cause of their own
They examine:

The behavior itself

The environmental forces working on the

Observed Behavior
Environmental Forces
Attributions for the Cause of the Behavior

Behavior: I am eating asparagus
Environment: I am alone at home
Cause: I like asparagus

The old attribution question arises:

Is the cause of the behavior personal or

Since there is no situational

(environmental) explanation for my
behavior, I must conclude that the cause
is personal: I must like asparagus.

To summarize what self perception

theory is saying about the cause of

If there is minimal environmental

explanation for a behavior, we conclude
that the cause is personal (dispositional)
If there is strong environmental
explanation for a behavior, we conclude
that the cause is situational (something
in my environment)

Self-Perception Theory
Individuals come to know their own
attitudes, emotions, and other internal
states partially by inferring them from
observations of their own overt behavior
and/or the circumstances in which this
behaviour occurs (Bem, 1972)

Intrinsic Motivation and the

Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation
Desire to perform an activity because were enjoy it.

Extrinsic Motivation
Desire to perform an activity because of external
pressures or rewards

Overjustification Effect
Overjustification Effect
People view their behavior as caused
by compelling extrinsic reasons, and
underestimate the extent to which the
behaviour was caused by intrinsic

Self-Presentation and SelfDisclosure

Self-disclosure: The act of revealing
personal information about oneself to
Quantity of information
Depth of information

Self-esteem refers to affective
evaluations of ones worth, value or
importance. Synonymous with selfworth, self-regard, self-respect, selfacceptance.
Various theories have been proposed to
explain how people work to maintain a
stable, positive self-concept.

Self-Discrepancy Theory
(Higgins, 1987, 1989, 1996)
Feel distressed when our actual self is different
from our ideal (the type of person we desire to
be) or ought (the type of person we feel we
should be) self, on a criterion that is important to
Actual-ideal discrepancies are associated with
dejection, sadness, dissatisfaction, and
depression-related emotions.
Actual-ought discrepancies are associated with
fear, worry, tension and anxiety-related emotions.

Self-Completion Theory
(Gollwitzer & Wicklund, 1985)
When people experience a threat to a
valued aspect of their self-concept, they
become highly motivated to seek social
recognition of that aspect of the self.
When an important identity has been
challenged, we behave in ways to
legitimate our claim to that identity.

Self-Evaluation Maintenance
Theory (Tesser et al., 1995)
Aspects of our self-concept can be
threatened by another persons
Two factors are important:
The immediacy of the other person
The personal importance of the behaviour

Basking in Reflected Glory

We take pride in the achievements of
certain people and groups, even when
we had nothing to do with attaining them.

Self-Enhancement and SelfVerification

Self-enhancement is the tendency to
hold unrealistically positive views about
Self-verification is the tendency to seek
veridical information about the self,
whether positive or negative.

Self-Verification Theory (Swann

1990, 1996)
We are motivated to have stable,
coherent self-concepts.
Information from others (both positive
and negative) that is contrary to our selfconcept
threatens the stability of the self-concept.
makes it comfortable to interact with
someone who doesnt share our selfconcept

Self-Verification Theory,
When do we self-verify
In close relationships
When we are highly certain of our selfconcept
Consequences of being discovered are

Broadly speaking, communication style varies
from one ethnicity to another due to the nature
of the construction of the language. Theorists
have distinguished verbal communication, and
analogic, nonverbal communication,
components within languages (Bennett, 17).
Depending on the language, some weigh more
toward one form of communication than the

are language skills needed to interact in

social situations, for example, when
speaking to a friend on the telephone.
This refers primarily to context-bound,
face-to-face communication, like the
language first learned by toddlers and
preschoolers, which is used in everyday
social interaction.