Social Psychology The Social Self 2007 Lecturer: James Neill Lecture Web Page http://ucspace.canberra.edu.au/display/7125/Lecture+Social+Self Readings Ch2 Culture & Nature Ch3 The Self Ch4 Behavior Control – The Self in Action Overview Culture & Nature What is the “Self”? What is the “Social Self”? Self-Constructs Evolutionary Functions Adaptational Functions Self-Complexity Social Comparison Social Feedback Strategic Self-Presentation Self-Monitoring Self-Regulation Culture & Nature Overview Psyche Evolution Culture Brain Theory Individual vs. Culture Social Psyche Broad term for mind, influenced by: –Nature – Genes, hormones, brain structure and other innate processes dictate how you will choose and act –Culture – Learned experiences; from parents, society and any experiences Evolution of evolution Natural selection –Survival until reproduction –Reproduction Theory Evolution Survival Mutation Reproduction Culture system of shared ideas and common ways of doing things Ideas – mental representations that are abstract and that can be expressed in language Cultural differences and underlying similarities Info-based Social Animal connections to others Work together Learn from one another Help kin Resolve conflict with aggression Seek Cultural Animal shaped psyche to enable creating and taking part in culture Division of labor Deliberately share knowledge Help strangers Resolve conflict with many alternatives Evolution Social Brain Theory Why only human brain evolved? Larger brain is linked to complex social systems (Dunbar, 1993, 1996) Advantages of Culture Human brain evolved to capitalize on culture – – – – Language Progress - to build on experience of others Division of Labor Exchange of Goods and Services Humans have evolved to participate in culture The Duplex Mind Automatic system of consciousness Simple operations Outside Conscious system Complex operations Changing Role of Consciousness Increased focus on role of automatic system Can learn, think, choose and respond Has idea and emotions Knows “self” and other people Consciousness focus on complex thinking and logic Living in a Culture Working to gain social acceptance states help humans connect to others Intelligent brain evolved to improve interpersonal relations Inner Nature Says Go, Culture Says No Nature – impulses, wishes, automatic responses Culture – teaches self-control and restraint Exceptions –Nature‟s disgust reactions (No) –Cultural timetable for meals (Go) Selfish Impulse vs. Social Conscience Nature makes us selfish Preservation of self Culture helps us resist selfish impulses Consideration of what is best for society –Moral Code –Laws Putting People First get most of what they need from other people Culture as a “general store” of information People look to and rely on each other People What Makes Us Human? Behavior results from mix of nature and culture Human life is enmeshed in culture Humans think with language and meaning What Makes Us Human? What makes us special? – Self-Awareness – Self-Concept Self is a human tool for – Gaining social acceptance – Participating in culture What is the „Self‟? What is “self”? Describe – “I am…” statements – Blog description – What do I promote? – What do I defend? yourself e.g., Usually includes social roles (e.g., gender, social identity, group memberships, and ethnicity) Environment Culture Self Groups What is the “self”? Many, varied theories about the purpose and function of the „self‟ – e.g., in arts, philosophy, science, culture, religion, and through history. What is the “self”? Psychologically... collection of cognitivelyheld beliefs that a person possesses about themselves. What is the “self”? However… “Self” seems to extend beyond the physical self (body), to include psychologically meaningful personal possessions and personal space. What is the “self”? “The self is an important tool with which the human organism makes its way through human society and thereby manages to satisfy its needs.” What is the “self”? Traditionally, “self” was seen as representing stable, genetically determined “character” – or later, “personality”. What is the “self”? More recently, “self” was understood to evolve during a lifetime, i.e. Partly stable, partly changing. What is the “self”? Most recently, “self” has been further complexified and increasingly seen as: –Dynamic & changeable –Multiple / Plural –Hierarchical –Situationally & cognitively influenced –Culturally constructed The psychological self includes: Attitudes Cognitions Emotions Group Memberships (Social Identity) Ideal / Imagined Selves Memories Possessions Self-Beliefs Self-Concepts Self-Images Social Roles What is the “self”? What is the “self”? To determine “What is self”, use diagnostic clues: am I? What are you prepared to defend? Who Fluctuating Image(s) of Self Phenomenal Self (Working SelfConcept) – Unusual aspects about you become prominent – Being lone member of some category Heightens self-awareness Can impair performance What is the “social self”? are gregarious, group-based creatures. A significant portion of our „self‟ and its „behaviour‟ is socially directed and influenced. Humans What is the “social self”? Some argue that „self‟ is entirely a function of the environment. e.g., “Self” as a construct of postindustrial, capitalist society and political systems which promote self-identity and choice-making, and then markets to the “self”. What is the “social self”? Interpersonal part of self that engages face-toface, in relation with others. Self or Social Self Social Roles -> Social Identity or Societal Self can include ethnicity, gender, age, place of residence or any other social categorization that helps characterize a person‟s identity. Purpose of the Self Gain Play social acceptance social roles –Society creates and defines roles –Individual seeks and adopts them Self-Constructs (Operationalization) Self-Esteem Self-Concept Self-Efficacy Self-Congruence illustrate how social psychologists study people‟s selves, in cognitive, affective, and behavioral terms. Self-Esteem feelings of self-worth Value placed in & degree of liking of self. Often based on and closely related to social comparisons. (e.g., too thin, too fat) People are motivated to see their self as worthy/worthwhile (Fiske, 2004). Global Self-Esteem High Low Self-Esteem Self-Esteem – Positive views – Absence of strong positive views Self-Esteem to have a slightly inflated sense of self value (Taylor). Self-esteem serves as a sociometer for one‟s standing in a group (Fiske, 2004). Self-esteem has been overemphasized in Western society, to the detriment of actual skill (Baumeister) Healthy Basking and Blasting Group membership may enhance positive feelings about self (Cialdini et.al, 1976) – Basking - Linking oneself to winners – Blasting - Criticizing a rival group People show a stronger tendency to blast (negative) than bask (positive) Basking and Blasting Loyal fans experience changes in their own confidence level based on the success or failure of their team – Losing had a stronger effect than winning Low Self-Esteem Research on Low Self-Esteem – Do not want to fail – Self-concept confusion – Focus on self-protection – More prone to emotional highs and lows Myth of Low-Self Esteem in United States Distorted Perceptions of Nondepressed Positive Illusions – Overestimate good qualities – Underestimate faults – Overestimate control over events – Unrealistically optimistic Self-Deception Strategies Self Serving Bias More Junk skeptical of bad feedback Mail Theory of Self-Deception Comparisons worse with those slightly Skew impressions of others to highlight own good traits as unusual Benefits of High SelfEsteem Initiative – Confidence you can do the right thing – More adventurous in activities Feels Good – Helps one to overcome bad feelings – If they fail, more likely to try again Why Do We Care About Self-Esteem? Sociometer Theory – Self-esteem is a measure of social acceptability Self-esteem feels good – Theory of terror management Negative Aspects of High Self-Esteem Narcissism – Subset of high self-esteem – Tend to be more aggressive and violent Higher Prejudice – Tend to think their group is better Pursuit of Self-Esteem May have harmful consequences – Can compromise pursuit of competence – Impairs autonomy – Pressure to meet expectations of others – Weakens individual intrinsic motivation – Impairs learning – Can damage relationships – Can be harmful to health Self-Presentation Behaviors to others that convey an image Public Esteem – More important than private selfesteem Public Behavior – Acting for the audience Functions of SelfPresentation Social Acceptance – Increase chance of acceptance and maintain place within the group Claiming Identity – Social validation of claims to identity Good Self-Presentation Demonstrate Positive Traits Behave with Consideration of Audience – Tendency toward favorable presentation Tradeoff Modesty – More prevalent in long-term relationships Risky Behaviors Self-Concept representations of the self. Now commonly seen as a set of multidimensional and hierarchically organized domains of self-concept, e.g., – Physical Self-Concept – Academic Self-Concept – Social Self-Concept Same-Sex Relations Opposite-Sex Relations Parent Relations, etc. Cognitive Top-down vs. bottom-up debate Self-Efficacy Belief in one‟s capacity to succeed at a given task. e.g. Public Speaking Self-Efficacy Bandura recommended specific rather than general measures of Self-Efficacy. Self-Efficacy e.g. Social Self-Efficacy for Relating to Teachers 1. I can get along with most of my teachers. 2. I can go and talk with most of my teachers. 3. I can get my teachers to help me if I have problems with other students. 4. I can explain what I think to most of my teachers. 5. I ask the teacher to tell me how well I'm doing in class. (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 2005) Rogers: Self Congruence ACTUAL IDEAL EXPERIENCE Incongruence Anxiety Defense Self has Evolutionary Functions Self-bias e.g., access to resources Self-organization / Self-complexity e.g., adaptability & self-insight/self-control Self-promotion e.g., for increased likelihood of mating Social comparison Social control e.g., motivation to improve e.g., storage of social norms and rules Self has Adaptational Functions “People‟s selves allow them to regulate their own behavior, an advantage for both self and group.” Self has Adaptational Functions “The self can serve various social psychological functions; having a self is not only knowing where your skin ends, but also how to get along in a group.” (Fiske, 2004, p. 176) Self-Complexity People generally see themselves as more complex and others as less complex. Self-Complexity There are individual variations in self-complexity, with selfcomplexity being advantageous e.g., less depressed, better able to handle stress, etc. Self-Complexity …includes having multiple possible selves. Social Comparison Everyone uses social comparison to: Understand how they are doing (through comparison with similar others) (through downward comparison) Feel To better (through upward comparison) improve Social Feedback Symbolic Interactionism: All self perceptions are based on one‟s history of social interactions. Social Feedback Reflected Appraisal: One‟s sense of self is based on how one perceives that others perceives one. Social Feedback Spotlight Effect: People tend to think other people notice and evaluate them more than they actually do. Social Feedback Transparency Effect: People tend to think that their inner self „leaks out‟ and is more obvious than it really is. Self Discrepancies Actual-Ideal -> Promotion Focus (failure -> Depression) Self Discrepancies Ideal-Ought -> Prevention Focus (failure -> Anxiety) Self Discrepancies Self-Evaluation Maintenance Theory –More relevant the comparison, the more threat –Closer the person is, the more emotion (+ve or –ve) Strategic Self Presentation Ingratiation (being liked) Self-Promotion Intimidation (being competent) (being in control) (Worthy, saintly) Exemplification Supplication (Helpless) Self-Monitoring High (adjusts behavior to situation; monitors situation) (principled attitudes guide behavior) Self-Monitoring Low Self-Monitoring Self-Regulation Monitoring and controlling selfpresentation and behavior uses up valuable self-regulatory resources. Self-Awareness Attention directed at the self – Private self-awareness – Public self-awareness Usually involves evaluative comparison Self-Awareness In general, people spend little time actually thinking about themselves. (but a lot of time is spent thinking about self-presentation and selfpreservation) Self-Awareness Certain (e.g., mirrors, cameras, audiences, selfdevelopment exercises, increase selfawareness) situations Individual differences in selfconsciousness Self Compared to Standards Concepts of how things might possibly be – Ideals, norms, expectations, moral principles, laws, past experiences Around age 2, begin use of standards – Beginning of self-awareness Self-Awareness and Behavior Self-awareness –improves behavior –enables people to be more socially desirable Self-Awareness Causes us to notice selfdiscrepancies and can produce temporary reductions in self-esteem. Self-Awareness To cope, we either adjust our behavior to meet our standards or withdraw from self-focusing situations. e.g., watch TV, play sport, alcohol, suicide. Purpose of Self-Awareness Self-regulation Adopt the perspective of other people Manage of goals behavior in pursuit Appraisal Why People Seek SelfKnowledge Motive Motive – Looking for the truth about oneself Self-Enhancement – Looking for flattering things about self Consistency Motive – Looking for confirmation about current belief about self When Motives Compete Appraisal Motive Motive – Weakest motive Self-Enhancement – Strongest motive (emotional appeal) Consistency Motive – Second preference (cognitive appeal) Self-Knowledge and the Duplex Mind Automatic Modesty Egotism – Automatic, self-enhancing – Conscious, deliberate control Self and Information Processing Self-Reference Effect – Information bearing on self is processed more deeply and remembered better Endowment Effect – Items gain in value to the person who owns them Can Self-Concept Change? Self-Concept self is consistent with public – People expect you to stay the same – Changing social environment may change inner self – Convince others that you have changed – Allow others to see your changed behavior Environment Culture Self Groups References Fiske, S. T. (2004). The self: Social to the core. In S. T. Fiske (2004). Social beings: A core motives approach to social psychology. (Ch 5, pp. 169 – 214). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley. Hoover-Dempsey, K.V., & Sandler, H.M. (2005). Final Performance Report for OERI Grant # R305T010673: The Social Context of Parental Involvement: A Path to Enhanced Achievement. Presented to Project Monitor, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, March 22, 2005.