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					                                       The Social Self




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                              Lecture contents


  Introspection
        How useful are self-reports?


  Self-perception
        Can others’ behaviours change who we are?


  Self-esteem & Self-enhancement
     How is depression possible?



ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                          The self-concept


      The self-concept is the sum total of a person‟s beliefs
       (i.e., cognitions) about their own personal attributes.

      These beliefs can be about affect, behaviour, (other)
       cognitions, motives, etc.

      Sometimes evaluations of these beliefs (i.e., self-
       esteem) is considered part of the self-concept.




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
          The development of self-awareness and identity

 • ‘Subjective’ self-awareness



 • ‘Objective’ self awareness



 • Symbolic self-awareness




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
              Self-assessment: The perils of introspection
 Nisbett & Wilson (1977)
       People often cannot explain the causes and correlates of their own
        behaviour.

 Wilson (1985)
       Analysing the reasons for our preferences and actions (e.g.,
        choosing a painting) may make us reach decisions we later come
        to regret.

 Wilson & Schooler (1991)
       Analysing the reasons for our preferences and actions (e.g.,
        ranking jams) may make us reach objectively bad decisions.

 Wilson & Kraft (1993)
       Analysing the reasons why we are in romantic relationships can
        reduce our satisfaction with them.

ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                  Benefits of introspection


 Millar & Tesser (1989)
    Need to match introspection „type‟ (i.e., of feelings, of
      thoughts) with behaviour type (i.e., relationships,
      decision-making).



 There may be other benefits to be derived from
  introspection, even if is not always accompanied by
  „genuine‟ self-knowledge, e.g., in health (Pennebaker,
  1997).



ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                         Trafimow et al. (1997)
                  “Students who took the test in English focused more on
                  personal traits, while those who took the test in Chinese were
                  more focused on group affiliations” (Brehm et al., 2002, p. 67)




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                      Bem’s (1972) self-perception theory


           To the extent that
            (i) people‟s internal states are weak or difficult
             to interpret, and
            (ii) they believe their behaviour to be
             unconstrained (e.g., by promise of reward or
             threat of punishment),
           then people will infer their attitudes (beliefs and
           feelings) from their behaviour.




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                  Self-perception research


 Rhodewalt & Agustsdottir (1986)
       People subtly induced to describe themselves in positive terms
        scored higher on a subsequent self-esteem test than people who
        were not so induced.


 Swann & Ely (1984)
       People subtly induced (by leading questions) to describe
        themselves as either introverted or extroverted subsequently
        defined themselves as such, but only when not previously certain
        about their level of dispositional introversion/extraversion.




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                             Self-perception of motivation

 The over-justification effect

      Providing extrinsic reasons (rewards, punishments) for
       behaviour formally engaged in for intrinsic reasons
       (enjoyment, duty) results in reduction of intrinsic
       motivation to engage in those behaviours (and thus in
       spontaneous expression of such behaviours).



 This is the „paradoxical effect of reward on motivation‟.




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                       Lepper et al. (1973)
                                      Making play into work




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                 Self-perception and performance quality


 Eisenberger & Cameron (1996)
    Post-performance rewards for quality of performance
     can enhance intrinsic motivation as long as such
     rewards were not guaranteed in advance for completion
     of the performance.

 Amabile (1996)
   Overjustification decreases performance quality as well
    as intrinsic motivation.




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                 Self-esteem: Self-perception of self-value
 Self-esteem is the result of the self‟s evaluations of the self-
  concept.

 Self can be evaluated in part („specific‟) or whole
  („summary‟).

 Evaluations can be positive, negative, neutral, ambiguous,
  and ambivalent.

 „State‟ and „trait‟ self-esteem.




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                How self-esteem affects us



 High self-esteem has all sorts of benefits.

 Conversely, low self-esteem predicts an altogether poorer
  life experience.




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                         Self-enhancement
                    Four mechanisms to improve self-esteem


 • Self-serving cognitions

 • Self-handicapping

 • Basking in reflected glory

 • Downward social comparison




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                    Self-serving cognitions


 Schlenker et al. (1990)
   People tend to take credit for their own successes and
     distance themselves from failure.



 Weinstein (1980)
   Unrealistic optimism.
   Often „explained‟ by reference to the person‟s particular
     characteristics (Kunda, 1987).




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                        Self-handicapping


    If we (i) are unsure of our success on a task we
    value and (ii) feel we should do well, we may claim
    or create a handicap to our own performance.

    We do this in order to (i) build an advance excuse for
    possible future failure that might otherwise damage our
    self-esteem and/or (ii) be able to claim additional credit
    should we nevertheless succeed.




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                              BIRGing
                                    Basking in reflected glory

    Enhancing self-esteem by identifying or claiming affiliation
    with a successful group.

 Cialdini et al. (1976)
     BIRGing and CORFing
     Used most after threats to individual self-esteem

 Hirt et al. (1992)
     Sometimes, we cannot CORF
     This affects out individual functioning

ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                           Downward social comparisons
 Social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954).
       In the absence of objective criteria, people may evaluate
        themselves relative to similar others.


 People can use this phenomenon proactively (Wills, 1981).
          Low or threatened self-esteem  motivated downward social
          comparison  relatively positive evaluation of self  improved or
          secured self-esteem


 This works by demonstrating that:
       I am better (off) than someone else.
       I am better (off) than I could be.




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self
                                  A sequence of self-biases




                                     Automatic     Reflective   Verify overrides
    Self-relevant
                                     emotional     cognitive       enhance,
    information
                                    assessment    assessment     if necessary




ATP 2: Social Psychology 2: The social self

				
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